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THE HISTORY OF THE 

LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

1.9x4.-1918 




aiot/^ tf'-yiw 



A SOLDIER OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 



THE HISTORY 

of the 

LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

1914-1918 

Compiled from War Diaries, Despatches, 
Officers' Notes and Other Sources 

Edited by 
MAJOR-GENERAL C. R. SIMPSON, C.B. 

COLONEL OF THE REGIMENT 

WrTH a Foreword 

BY 

THE EARL OF YAR30ROUGH, P.C. 

Illustrated by 
CHARLES SIMPSON, R.T. 



LONDON 
THE MEDICI SOCIETY, LTD., MCMXXXI 



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Printed in England 



FOREWORD 

BY THE EARL OF YARBOROUGH, P.C. 
LORD LIEUTENANT OF LINCOLNSHIRE 

THE Lincolnshire Regiment, so long known as the ioth 
Regiment of Foot, was formed nearly two hundred and 
fifty years ago, when King James II was on the Throne, 
and has seen service in all parts of the world as testified by its 
long list of Battle Honours ; its gallant deeds in times past have 
been fully recorded in the " History of the Lincolnshire Regi- 
ment," by Mr. Albert Lee, published in 191 1. 

It has been specially favoured in having had for many years 
Major-General C.R. Simpson as its Colonel. He has always 
taken the greatest interest in every battalion of the Regiment 
and visits them at intervals wherever they may be stationed. 
Four years ago he travelled to India to visit the and Battalion 
then serving at Lucknow, and in 1930 the 1st Battalion in Gibral- 
tar. It would be impossible to find anyone more fitted than 
General Simpson to edit the record of the Regiment's splendid 
achievements in the Great War and I am sure all who read the 
volume will appreciate the manner in which it is written and the 
maps, numbering more than 40, which have been drawn by 
himself, while the excellent illustrations are the work of his 
talented son, Charles Simpson, R.I. 

To my mind it is an interesting fact about the Lincolnshire 
Regiment in the late War, that eight of the ten battalions which 
fought in France and Gallipoli, namely the 4th, 5th, 2 /4th, 
2 /5th, 6th, 7th^ 8th and ioth, were all raised in the County. 
Further, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were recruited in the County 
and their heavy losses made good from the County. I should 
mention too that the 3rd Battalion under Colonel King-Fane 
did most valuable work in training and sending out reinforce- 
ments. 

Another very interesting and significant fact brought to light 
in the Great War is, that notwithstanding units being redupli- 
cated over and over again, they all appeared to inherit the 
esprit de corps of their Regiments and fully acted up to the 
tradition of the Regiment of which they formed part. 

The fine traditions of the Regiment are being maintained. 
Four years ago the 2nd Battalion then serving in India was 
inspected by F.M. Sir William Birdwood, the Commander-in- 
Chief in India ; he wrote to inform me of the high state of 
efficiency of the battalion and he added '. 

" I was inspecting it a short while before they held their annual 
Sobraon Day and in consequence I was able to see a rehearsal of their 
parade for Trooping of the Colour. There was a very large proportion 

v 



FOREWORD 

of young soldiers in the battalion, yet I can say honestly I have never 
seen a parade carried out better in every respect. The young soldiers 
stood like rocks and evidently have every intention of upholding the 
tradition of the Lincolnshire Regiment." 

The battalion was commanded at that time by Lt.-Colonel 
A.B. Johnson, D.S.O. 

It is satisfactory that this book is to be published at a price 
which will make it available for all who served in the regiment 
or are interested in it. Those who read it will be able to form 
some idea of the magnitude of the work which General Simpson 
has undertaken and which has occupied four years to complete. 
By his self-imposed task he has earned the gratitude not only 
of the Regiment he loves so well, but of the whole County of 
Lincoln. 

Yarborough. 
Brocklesby Park, 

November, 1931. 



Note. — More recently, General Sir Alexander Godley, Governor and Commander-in- 
Chief of Gibrahar, in a letter to Major-General Simpson, expressed in the -warmest 
terms his appreciation of the character and efficiency of the ist Battalion, and his regret 
at their departure, when they left Gibraltar for Shanghai, in October, 1931. 
November, 193 1. C.K.b. 



Vl 



BATTLE HONOURS 

OF THE 

LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The Sphinx, superscribed " Egypt." 

" BLENHEIM," " RAMILLIES," " OUDENARDE," 
" MALPLAQUET," " PENINSULA," " SOBRAON," 
" MOOLTAN," " GOOJERAT," " PUNJAUB," " LUCK- 
NOW," " ATBARA," " KHARTOUM," " PAARDE- 
BERG," "SOUTH AFRICA, 1900-02." 

The Great War— 19 Battalions. — " MONS," " Le Cateau," 
"Retreat from Mons," " MARNE, 1914," " Aisne, 19 14, 
'18," "La Basset, 1914," " MESSINES, 1914, '17, '18," 
" Armentieres, 1914," " TPRES, 19 14, '15, '17," " Nonne 
Bosschen," " NEUVE CHAPELLE," " Gravenstafel," " St. 
Julten," " Frezenberg," " Bellewaarde," " Aubers," " LOOS," 
"SOMME, 1916, '18," "Albert, 1916, '18," " Bazentin," 
" Delville Wood," " Pozieres," " Flers-Courcelette," " Mor- 
val," "Thiepval," " An ere, 1916, '18," "Arras, 1917, '18," 
" Scarpe, 1917, '18," " Arleux," " Pilckem," " Langemarck, 
1917," "Menin Road," "Polygon Wood," " Broodseinde," 
" Poelcapelle," " Passchendaele," " Cambrai, 1917, '18," 
"St. Quentin," " Bapaume, 191 8," " LYS," " Estaires," 
"Bailleul," "Kemmel," "Amiens," " Drocourt-Queant," 
"HINDENBURG LINE," " Epehy," "Canal du Nord," 
" St. Quentin Canal," " Beaurevoir," " Selle," " Sambre," 
"France and Flanders, 1914-18," " SUVLA," "Landing at 
Suvla," "Scimitar Hill," " Gallipoli, 1915," " Egypt, 1916." 



The Battle Honours, in the list above, from "BLENHEIM" to "SOUTH 
AFRICA " are emblazoned on the " Regimental Colour." 

Ten of the Battle Honours in the Great War are printed in capital letters in the list. 
They are emblazoned on the " King's Colour." 

They were recommended for that distinction to the Army Council for submission to 
His Majesty the King, by a regimental committee, on which each of the battalions 
which helped to earn them was represented. 

November, 1931. 

vii 



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i 



EDITORS PREFACE 

THIS chronicle of the share which part of the Nation, 
connected by its title with the County of Lincolnshire, 
took in the Great War, has been compiled, prin- 
cipally, from the War Diaries of battalions in the field, in 
circumstances always unfavourable to literary composition, and 
sometimes in conditions which were almost unbearable. It 
has been supplemented by the notes of officers who read the 
draft as it was written as well as by reference to despatches, 
official and other records. 

■ To the survivors of those who personally took part in the 
operations described, it will recall to memory the scenes in 
which they were actors, and the comrades with whom they 
served. To other readers it may, it is hoped, act as a reminder, 
if a reminder be necessary, of the self-sacrifice, the sense of 
duty to country, of the many men of all classes and all ages 
from youth to middle-age, who left their ordinary occupations 
in civil life to bear arms in defence of their country, and to the 
relatives of those who fell, as a memorial. 

The connection of the Tenth Regiment of Foot, raised in 
1685, with the County of Lincolnshire commenced in 1782. 
The more intimate connection of the Regiment with the County, 
in 188 1, when the 10th (North Lincolnshire) Regiment became 
the Lincolnshire Regiment, and was consummated when the 
County, as a county, was represented in the Great War, not 
only by the Lincolnshire Yeomanry, but by the battalions of 
infantry which bore its name and contributed nearly nine 
thousand names to the Roll of Honour in Lincoln Cathedral. 

The grateful thanks of all who read this volume are due to 
the subscribers, principally in the County, led by the Earl of 
Yarborough, whose help made possible the compilation of this 
work. 

My personal thanks are due to the many friends who assisted 
by their comments on narratives of operations in which they 
fought, and especially to members of the committee, to Brigadier 
F.G. Spring, C.M.G., D.S.O., who acted as Treasurer from 
October, 1927, until his departure to take up a command in 
India ; to Lt.-Colonels FitzG. Cox and F.W. Greatwood, 
D.S.O., who read and checked the whole of the MS. ; Lt.- 
Colonel Greatwood succeeded Brigadier Spring as Treasurer ; 
and to Captain Crick, M.C., Secretary to the local committee 
in Lincoln. 

November, 1931. C. R. SlMPSON. 



IX 



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CONTENTS 



PAGE 



FOREWORD BY THE EARL OF YARBOROUGH, 

P.C., LORD LIEUTENANT OF LINCOLNSHIRE v 

BATTLE HONOURS OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGI- 
MENT vii 

EDITOR'S PREFACE ix 

PART ONE : Mobilisation and The Battles of Mons, 

THE MARNE AND THE AlSNE 

I. 19 14 MOBILISATION OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 3 

II. THE BATTLE OF MONS : 23RD AUGUST, I914 5 

III. THE RETREAT FROM MONS II 

IV. THE BATTLE OF LE CATEAU : 26TH AUGUST, 1914 1 8 
V. THE RETREAT RESUMED 21 

VI. THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE : 7TH-IOTH SEPTEMBER, 

I914 29 

VII. THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE, I914 35 

PART TWO : Trench Warfare, Reinforcements and the 
Battles of 19 14 

1. the beginning of trench warfare 43 

II. the mobilisation of the 3RD (reserve) battalion, 

THE TERRITORIALS, AND RAISING, OF THE SERVICE 
BATTALIONS OF THE REGIMENT 47 

III. THE BATTLES OF LA BASSEE, ARMENTIERES, AND MESSINES, 

1914 : IOTH OCTOBER— 2ND NOVEMBER 53 

IV. THE BATTLES OF YPRES, I914 66 

PART THREE : The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the 
Second Battles of Ypres, and the Battle of Loos 

i. the 2nd battalion leaves bermuda yj 

ii. the battle of neuve chapelle : ioth-i3th 

MARCH, I9I 5 79 

III. TRENCH WARFARE, YPRES, I915 87 

IV. THE BATTLES OF YPRES, 1915 88 

V. THE BATTLE OF AUBERS RIDGE ! 9TH MAY, 1915 9 1 
VI. THE FIRST ATTACK ON BELLEWAARDE : l6TH JUNE, 1915 97 

VII. FROM MARCH 1915 TO THE EVE OF THE BATTLE OF LOOS : 

4TH, 5TH AND 7TH BATTALIONS IO3 

VIII. THE BATTLE OF LOOS : 25TH SEPTEMBER-8TH OCTOBER, 

1915 IO9 
IX. THE ACTION OF BOIS GRENIER, 25TH SEPTEMBER 117 

X. THE SECOND ATTACK ON BELLEWAARDE : 25TH-26TH 

SEPTEMBER 1 23 

XI. ACTIONS OF THE HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT : 13TH-19TH 

OCTOBER 1 24 

XII. THE 46TH DIVISION EMBARKS FOR EGYPT 1 30 

XIII. THE ACTIONS OF THE BLUFF : I4TH-15TH FEBRUARY 

AND 2ND MARCH, I916 1 32 

xi 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



PART FOUR : The Dardanelles Campaign, 19 15 

I. THE LANDING AT SUVLA BAY '. 6TH-I fjTH AUGUST, I915 I4I 

II. THE BATTLE OF SCIMITAR HILL : 2IST AUGUST, 1915- 

THE ATTACK ON ISMAIL OGLU TEPE I5 1 

III. THE EVACUATION OF SUVLA : I9TH-26TH DECEMBER) 

1915 154 

PART FIVE : The Battles of the Somme, 19 i 6 

I. the battle of albert : IST-13TH july 159 

II. the battle of bazentin : 14.TH-17TH July, 19 16 182 
in. the battle of delville wood : 15TH july-^rd 

SEPTEMBER 1 83 

IV. THE BATTLE OF POZIERES RIDGE : 23RD JULY-3R.D 

SEPTEMBER 1 85 
V. THE BATTLE OF FLERS-COURCELETTE : l5TH^22ND 

SEPTEMBER 1 87 
VI. THE BATTLE OF MORVAL : 25TH~28tH SEPTEMBER J 

THE CAPTURE OF GUEUDECOURT I9 1 
VII. THE BATTLE OF THIEPVAL RIDGE t 26th-28tH SEP- 
TEMBER 195 
VIII. ZENITH TRENCH i 23RD OCTOBER 1 96 
IX. THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE : 13TH-18TH NOVEMBER 1 99 

PART SIX : The Battles of Arras And Leas, 19 l 7 

I. TRENCH WARFARE FROM JULY I916 TO THE 1ST MARCH, 

1917 205 

II. THE GERMAN RETREAT AND THE fiRITISHt ADVANCE TO" 

THE HINDENBURG LINE: 14TH MARCH-^TH APRIL, 

I917 212 

III. THE BATTLES OF ARRAS, 191 7 (THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE 

SCARPE, 9TH-14.TH APRIL) 223 

IV. THE BATTLES OF ARRAS, I917 (THE SECOND' BATTLE OF 

THE SCARPE, 23RD-24TH APRIL) 23 1 
V. THE BATTLES OF ARRAS, I917 (THE BATTLE OF ARLEUX, 
28TH--29TH APRIL J AND THE THIRD BATTLE OF THE 

SCARPE, 3RD-4TH MAY) 234 
VI. THE ATTACKS TOWARDS LENS \ 3RD JUNE-26TH 

AUGUST, 19 17 238 

PART SEVEN : The Flanders Offensive and the Battle 
of Cambrai, 19 17 

i, the flanders offensive : the battle of messines, 

1917 : 7TH-14TH june 249 

II. THE FLANDERS OFFENSIVE : THE BATTLES OF YPRES, 

1 91 7 : 3 1 ST JULY-IOTH NOVEMBER 253 

III. THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI, I917 : 20TH NOVEMBER- 

7TH DECEMBER 275 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

PART EIGHT : The German Offensive of 191 8 

I. THE WINTER OF I917-I918 TO THE EVE OF THE GERMAN 

OFFENSIVE OF THE 3 1 ST MARCH, I918 283 

II. THE EVE OF THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE 289 

III. THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE OF I918 : THE FIRST 

BATTLES OF THE SOMME, I918, 2IST MARCH— 5 TH APRIL 394 

IV. THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE OF 1 9 1 8 : THE BATTLES OF 

THE LYS, 9TH-29TH APRIL 313 

V. THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE, 1918, 27TH MAY=-^6tH JUNE 328 

PART NINE : The Advance to Victory 

I. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS ; 8TH— IITH AUGUST, IQl8 339 

II. THE SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME, I918. THE BATTLE 

OF ALBERT, I918 : 2IST-23RD AUGUST 34O 

III. THE SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME, I918. THE SECOND 

BATTLE OF BAPAUME, 3 1 ST AUGUST-3RD SEPTEMBER 349 

IV. THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918: THE BATTLE OF 

THE SCARPE, 26TH-3OTH AUGUST j AND THE BATTLE 
OF DROCOURT-QUEANT, 2ND-3RD SEPTEMBER 3^3 

V. THE BATTLES OF THE HINDENBURG LINE : 1 2TH SEP- 

TEMBER-9TH OCTOBER 357 

VI. THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI, I918 ! 8TH-9TH OCTOBER, 

AND THE PURSUIT TO THE SELLE 37 J 

VII. THE BATTLE OF THE SELLE, 17TH-25TH OCTOBER 378 

VIII. THE BATTLE OF THE SAMBRE, 4TH NOVEMBER 383; 

EPILOGUE 



APPENDICES 

I. BATTALIONS OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REQJMENT DURING 

THE WAR 
II. THE ROLL OF HONOUR 

III. HONOURS AND AWARDS 

IV. COMFORTS AND PRISONERS OF WAR FUNDS 

INDEX 



395 



399/ 
401 

493: 
507 

509 



X1U 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

A Soldier of the Lincolnshire Regiment Frontispiece 







page 


Frameries 




12 


Le Cateau 




19 


The Retreat 




21 


The Attack on Herlies 




58 


Nonne Bosschen, iith November 


69 


Neuve Chapelle 




83 


ist Attack, Bellewaarde 




99 


German Counter-Attack, Bois 


Hugo 


ii5 


Gas Masks and Steel Helmets, 


Autumn, 19 15 


128 


Attack-Chocolate Hill 




146 


The Somme Bombardment 




161 


The Battle of Albert 




168 


German Prisoners, July, 1916 




177 


Zenith Trench 




207 


Dawn Before Arras 




220 


Arleux 




235 


Attacks Towards Lens 




244 


Ypres, 191 7 




265 


Tanks 




276 


The Fog Lifts 




296 


Crucifix Hill 




322 


German Troops moving to the 


Front 


3*7 


Epehy 




359 



XIV 



LIST OF MAPS AND PLANS 

PAGE 

Frameries 15 
The Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne Facing page 40 

The Bethune-Ypres Area 54 

La Bassee, 1 9 14 5° 

Messines, 1914 63 

The Battle of Ypres, 19 14 67 

Neuve Chapelle, 1915 80 

Aubers Ridge 93 

ist Attack, Bellewaarde 98 

Loos 113 

Bois Grenier 119 

hohenzollern redoubt 125 

The Bluff 133 

The Landing at Cape Helles 142 

Suvla Bay H4 

Attack on Ismail Oglu Tepe 153 

The Attack at Fricourt, July ist, 19 16 165 

The Attack at Fricourt Wood, July 2nd, 191 6 175 

The Battles of the Somme, 191 6 Facing page 200 

Zenith Trench 208 

Attack on Hindenburg Line, April, 19 17 214 

The German Retreat, March, 19 17 218 

The Battles of Arras, April, 191 7 224, 226, 227 

First Battle of the Scarpe, 1917 229 

Third Battle of the Scarpe, 19 17 233 

Attacks Towards Lens, 19 17 240 

Battle of Messines, 191 7 251 

The Battle of Ypres, 19 17 255 

Attack at the Wambeke ' 257 

The Battle of Cambrai 277 

The German Offensive, March, 191 8 298 
The Battle of the Ancre, 1918 [Battle of Rossignol Wood] 311 

The Battle of Estaires 314 

The Battle of Messines, 19 18 316 

The Battle of the Aisne, 19 18 329 

The Second Battles of the Somme, 19 18 342 

The Second Battles of Arras, 19 18 355 

Sergeant Simpson wins V.C. 35° 

Battles of Epehy and Canal du Nord 362 

6th Battalion, 30TH September, 19 18 365 

The Battle of the St. Quentin Canal ,367 

The Advance to Victory Facingpage 394 

xv 



REFERENCES 

The following Abbreviations have been used : — 

Official History 
Official (Military) History 
for 
" History of the Great War " — Based on Official docu- 
ments. Compiled by Brigadier-General Sir J.E. Edmonds. 

Despatch (date), (para) 
for 
" Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches." Edited by Lieut- 
Colonel J.H. Boraston, O.B.E. 



The following works have also been consulted, references 
in the text : — 

"History of the 17th (Northern) Division," By A. 
Hilliard Atteridge. 

" The Breaking of the Hindenburg Line." By Major 
Priestley, M.C., Royal Engineers (T. Fisher Unwin & Co.) 



XVI 



PART ONE 

MOBILISATION AND 

THE BATTLES OF MONS, THE MARNE 

AND THE AISNE 



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MOBILISATION E aug., r 9 i 4 

I 

1 9 14 MOBILISATION OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

THE Lincolnshire Regiment at the outbreak of war num- 
bered five battalions, i.e., 1st and 2nd Regular, 3rd Special 
Reserve (formerly Militia) and 4th and 5th Territorials. 

The 1st Battalion (Lieut-Colonel W.E.B. Smith command- 
ing) was stationed at Portsmouth, forming part of the 9th 
Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division : the battalion was brigaded 
with 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 4th Royal Fusiliers and 1st 
Royal Scots Fusiliers. The 9th Infantry Brigade was com- 
manded by Brigadier-General F.C. Shaw, the 3rd Division by 
Major-General Hubert Hamilton. 

The 2nd Battalion in Bermuda was under the command of 
Lieut.-Colonel G.B. McAndrew. 

The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion (Lieut.-Colonel W.V.R. 
Fane commanding) had its Headquarters at Lincoln. The 
depot of the Regiment, also at Lincoln, was commanded by 
Major L. Edwards, who however was ordered on the 4th August 
on duty to York, and handed over to Captain R.H. Johnston. 
Colonel Ivatt took command from the nth August. 

The 4th and 5th (Territorial) Battalions had their Head- 
quarters respectively at the Drill Hall, Lincoln, and the Infantry 
Drill Hall, Grimsby. Lieut.-Colonel J.W. Jessop commanded 
the 4th, and Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall the 5th. 

At 6 p.m. on the 4th the 1st Battalion received orders to mobi- 
lise. The ranks contained a large proportion of young soldiers 
whose service ranged from a few weeks to two years. The per- 
centage of old soldiers was very small, the strength of the 
battalion being twenty-four officers and six hundred and seventy- 
three other ranks. 

On the 8 th August five hundred and forty-three mobilised 
reservists joined from the depot at Lincoln, where they had 
already been fitted out with clothing and equipment. Several 
days were then spent in strenuous training for service overseas. 
By the 12 th August mobilisation was finally completed, 1 and 
all insufficiently trained men, with those earmarked as reinforce- 
ments, or as cadres of new battalions, were despatched to join 
the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. One officer and one hundred other 
ranks were detailed as first reinforcements, fit and ready to pro- 
ceed overseas at a moment's notice. They were to remain in 
barracks at Portsmouth after the departure of the battalion until 
further orders. 

1 The mobilisation of the Territorial Battalions and raising of the Service Battalions 
of the Regiment will be described later. 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

One of the outstanding achievements of the War Office and 
the Army generally, was the secrecy maintained as to the date of 
embarkation and transport of the British Expeditionary Force to 
France. The C.O.s and Adjutants of battalions were the only 
officers who knew the dates of embarkation, and it was not until 
after 5 p.m. on the 12th August that Colonel Smith was permitted 
to tell his officers that they were to embark on the following day. 
At 6.15 a.m. on the 13th August the right-half battalion of 
the 1st Lincolnshire marched out of Victoria Barracks, Ports- 
mouth, to the Town Station and entrained for Southampton. An 
hour later, the left-half battalion followed. At Southampton 
the battalion 1 went aboard the S.S. " Norman " : the regimental 
transport, however, embarked on the S.S. " Italian Prince." ( 

Darkness had fallen when the vessels put out to sea. Standing 
on the deck, watching the lights of England disappear in the 
distance, officers and men were alike ignorant of their destination. 
Land lights were seen at about 1 a.m. on the 14th. By 2.30 
a.m. the " Norman " had berthed in the docks and soon the word 
passed that this was Havre : the Battalion was to land on French soil. 
Disembarkation began immediately. Companies were formed 
up in a large shed, at one end of which was a steaming portable 
boiler, from which a French civilian served coffee to the men as 
they filed past, canteen in hand ready to receive it. 

A single French soldier — a sentry near the shed — in the 
typical uniform of 1 914 — blue and red peaked cap, blue overcoat 
and red baggy trousers — excited the curiosity of those men who 
had never seen a French infantryman before, but soon they were 
to become close comrades. 

At 10 o'clock the battalion marched from the docks through 
the town of Havre, up the hill past historic Harfleur, to a con- 
centration^ camp on the plateau. The mist had cleared away 
and a semi-tropical sun beat down upon the men who, with their 
packs and equipment, had a gruelling march of six miles over 
rough roads. Eventually they reached the plateau, where the 
battalion sheltered in an orchard. It received tents late in the 
evening. 

The night of 1 4th /i 5th was uncomfortable, a violent thunder- 
storm breaking over the camp. Rain fell almost incessantly 
throughout the 15th, but at 9 p.m. the battalion paraded and 
marched to Havre railway station, and there entrained for an 
unknown destination. 

The following officers of the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regi- 
ment landed in France with it : Lieut.-Colonel W.E.B. Smith, 
Majors C. Toogood and D.H.F, Grant ; Captains F.W. Great- 
wood, H.C.W. Hoskynsf, H.E. Dawsonf, F.C. Rose, Captain 

1 Strength twenty-seven officers and nine hundred and seventy-one other ranks. 
4 



MONS [AUG. 23RD, 1914 

and Adjutant R.E. Drakef, G.K. Butt, G.M. Ellison ; Lieu- 
tenants A.W.P. Peddiefj L.M. Bullerf, C.C. Holmesf, B.J. 
Thruston, E.L. Welchmanf ; 2nd Lieutenants A.E.C. Bainesf, 
E.W. Wales, C. Hutchinson, R.FitzR.B. Herapathf, A.P. Snell, 
W.M. Robertsonf, R.W. Cave-Orme, E. Barnesf, H. Marshall, 
and Lieut., and Quartermaster F.W. Masters, who served with 
the battalion to the end of the War. Lieutenant Trist, Officers' 
Training Corps, attached to the battalion, went to France with 
it. The following joined the battalion in France soon after : 
Majors C.C.L. Barlowf, L. Edwardsf ; Captains H.M.C. Orr, 
R.H. Johnston, L.deO. Tollemachef, J.D.D. Wickhamf, 
E.J.deC. Boys ; Lieutenant J.H. Blackwood. The following 
joined from the retired list : Captains C.G. Lyallf, R.N. Kingf, 
J.N. Phillipsf, and Tatchell. 



II 

THE BATTLE OF MONS : 23RD AUGUST, I9I4 

The unknown destination of the ist Lincolnshire was 
Landrecies, a village at the southern extremity of the ForSt de 
Mormal, in the neighbourhood of which the British Expedi- 
tionary Force concentrated before moving to the position allotted 
to it on the left flank of the Fifth French Army. 

After a tumultuous welcome all along the line from kindly 
French people, who at each halt bestowed gifts of chocolate, 
flowers, handkerchiefs and other articles upon the troops (for 
which cap badges, shoulder plates and even buttons were given 
as souvenirs), the train carrying 9th Infantry Brigade Head- 
quarters and the ist Lincolnshire reached Landrecies at about 
8 p.m. on the 16th. The battalion, on detrainment, billeted in 
Dupleix Barracks in the town. Other units of the 9th Brigade 
arrived later, but on the following morning all marched out and 
took up somewhat crowded quarters in Noyelles, about six miles 
north-east of Landrecies, the 3rd Division having been ordered 
to concentrate in the area Marbaix, Taisnieres, Noyelles. 

The area allotted to the British Expeditionary Force for con- 
centration before taking up its position on the left of the Fifth 
French Army was roughly between Le Cateau and Maubeuge, 
and east of the For6t de Mormal. 

On the 1 8 th and 19th, troops route marched, and on the 
following day the ist Lincolnshire moved to billets in Leval. 

Note. — The sign f after a name signifies that the officer was killed in action or died 
of wounds. 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

On 20th August, concentration was practically complete, and 
at nightfall G.H.Q. issued orders for the movement northwards 
to begin the next day : the move was to occupy three days. The 
object of the advance ordered for the 21st was, in furtherance 
of General Joffre's plan, for the British Expeditionary Force, and 
the French Fifth Army (Lanrezac) to hold in check German 
armies advancing from the Meuse, and gain time for the attack 
of the French Third and Fourth Armies, on the German centre, 
to become effective. The general situation on the 21st, how- 
ever, was : The French First and Second Armies (French right) 
were retiring, Third and Fourth had had a serious reverse, and 
the Fifth was in a salient, formed by the Sambre and the Meuse, 
and about to be attacked by the Germans. {Official History^ 
Vol I, pp. 38-41.) 

The general situation on the night of the 20th, on the left of 
the Allied line, was briefly as follows : the Fifth French Army 
was concentrated on the right of the British Expeditionary Force, 
ready also to move north. The German First Army that day 
had entered Brussels : the main Belgian Army had retired into 
Antwerp, and the enemy had approached within range of 
Namur. 

When " reveille " sounded on the morning of 21st August, 

there was a heavy ground mist, foreshadowing a warm day. 

Very early the cavalry moved northwards towards Villers-St. 

Ghislain, south-east of Mons. The II. Corps followed to the 

line west of the fortress of Maubeuge, the 3rd Division on the 

right to the line Bettignies-Feignies-La Longueville, the 5th 

Division on the left to the line Houdain-St. Waast-Gommegnies. 

Arrived at their destination, the leading brigades of the 3rd 

and 5th Divisions were ordered to throw out outposts. Orders 

from 9th Infantry Brigade Headquarters to Colonel Smith (O.C. 

1st Lincolnshire) stated : " You will find outposts to-day on the 

general line of the Goegnies-Bray road from the Mons-Mau- 

beuge railway to Riez de l'Erelle, both inclusive, connecting 

with the outposts of the 8th and 13th Brigades respectively on 

your flanks." 

The Lincolnshire were given that portion of the outpost line 
which lay upon the borders of and overlooked the battlefield of 
Malplaquet, where, in September 1709, the 10th Foot (Lincoln- 
shire) formed part of the force under Marlborough which beat 
the French commanded by Marshals Villiers and Boufflers. It 
was in the wood of Taisnieres that the " 10th " fiercely attacked 
the Frenchmen and helped to win what Marlborough described 
as a " very murdering battle." 

At 4 a.m. on 22nd orders were issued from Brigade Head- 
quarters to continue the march northwards. The 9th Brigade 



MONS [AUG. 23RD, 1914 

was to march to Frameries in the general move forward on Mons, 
the 3rd Division having been ordered to occupy the area 
Nimy-Ghlin-Frameries— Spiennes, and the 5th Division ^the 
line of the Mons Canal from Jemappes westward to Bois de 
Boussu. 

But contact with the enemy had already been obtained for 
at dawn officer patrols of the 4th Dragoon Guards, pushed out 
from Obourg towards Soignies, had encountered a German 
piquet on the road and had fired on it : this was the first shot 
in the war fired by the British in France and Flanders. Later, 
another small action took place between a troop of the same 
regiment and German cavalry moving south along the road from 
Soignies towards Mons. Finally, at 10 a.m., two squadrons of 
the Scots Greys (5th Cavalry Brigade), holding the bridges over 
the Samme at Binche and Peronnes, came into contact with a 
German detachment of all arms. Consequent on the latter 
engagement the 3rd Division took up a first outpost line from 
Givry, north-west, to the outskirts of Mons, this line, during the 
afternoon, being thrown forward through Villers-St. Ghislain, 
St. Symphorien, the bridge at Obourg and the bridge at Lock 5 
to Nimy : the 8 th Infantry Brigade was on the right of the line ; 
the 9th Brigade on the left and the 7th Brigade in reserve five 
miles in rear at Frameries and Ciply. 

It was somewhere about 7 a.m. when the 1st Lincolnshire 
set out along the Blaregnies-Frameries road, from Riefc de 
TErelle. They had been about an hour on the way when the 
Obelisk which marks the site of the Battle of Malplaquet came 
into view and there were cheers from the ranks as the battalion 
passed. At about 10 a.m., the Lincolnshire marched into 
Frameries with the remainder of the column. Streets gaily 
decorated with the flags of the allied nations, frantic shouts of 
welcome from the populace, gifts of fruit and other eatables, 
tobacco and cigarettes, matches and even handkerchiefs and 
towels, greeted the long line of khaki troops as they entered and 
marched through the town, for although originally the Brigade 
had been ordered to halt in Frameries, the situation necessitated 
the taking up of a line along the Mons— Conde" Canal from Nimy 
to Mariette, both inclusive to the 9th Brigade. 

The 4th Royal Fusiliers, 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 1st 
Northumberland Fusiliers (less two companies) accordingly 
marched on and took over the line from Nimy to and includ- 
ing Mariette 1 : 9th Brigade Headquarters, two companies 
Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st Lincolnshire, Transport " B," 
23rd Brigade R.F.A., and ammunition column, however, moved 
to Cuesmes, in reserve. 

1 In that order from right to left. 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The latter village was reached about noon and the troops were 
drawn up in the Grand Place, where they remained, feted by the 
inhabitants, until the evening, when they went into billets, 1 It 
was in Cuesmes that Captain Ellison of the Lincolnshire fired 
the first shot by the Regiment in the war, at a German aeroplane 
which flew over the village. 

The situation was now rapidly developing : during the after- 
noon information was circulated in Brigade Orders that heavy 
infantry columns of the enemy were reported advancing due south 
on Mons, and the Cond6-Mons Canal was fixed as the line of 
resistance. The outposts dug hard and established themselves, 
but they were told that if attacked they would not be reinforced 
from Cuesmes. The 4th Royal Fusiliers, if compelledto retire, 
would do so to a position in rear of the Lincolnshire, who, 
with the two companies of Northumberland Fusiliers not in the 
front line, were to move out of Cuesmes and take up a position 
on the Cuesmes— Mons road. 

Aerial reconnaissance during the afternoon, in the direction 
of Charleroi, resulted in the discovery that two German Corps 
were attacking the Fifth French Army on the line of the Sambre, 
and later G.H.Q. received the grave news that the French centre 
had been driven back and had retired from five to ten miles south 
of the river. The retirement of the French left the British on 
the Mons Canal some nine miles ahead of the main French line. 
In the evening, Sir John French held a conference at Le 
Cateau, at the close of which he announced that owing to the 
retreat of the Fifth French Army, the British offensive would not 
take place. At about 1 1 p.m., a French staff officer brought a 
request from General Lanrezac (commanding the Fifth French 
Army) to Sir John, asking the latter to attack the flank of the 
German columns which were pressing the Fifth French Army 
back from the Sambre. Sir John could not accede, but agreed 
to remain in his position on the canal for twenty-four hours. 
The I. Corps was thereupon ordered to take over that portion 
of the outpost line of the II. Corps which lay east of Mons, 
and the 2nd Division began to move up at 3 a.m. on the 23rd 
for that purpose, but was too late to relieve the II. Corps 
before fighting began. 

The night of the 22nd /23rd August passed quietly enough, 
and in the morning the troops in Cuesmes were permitted to 
walk about the town. It was Sunday morning and most of the 
inhabitants were out in the streets fraternising with the troops, 
or on their way to Mass. But these amenities were of short 

1 A rather picturesque incident was afforded by a party of Nuns from the neighbouring 
convent, who proffered and did many kindly services for the men and presented many 
of them with small pieces of ribbon of the Belgian national colours for good luck. 

8 » 



MONS [AUG. 23RD, 1914 

duration, for already at several points contact had been obtained 
with the enemy, though the first encounters were with hostile 
mounted patrols. 

By 9 a.m. German infantry were advancing on the 4th 
Middlesex (8th Brigade), west of the canal at Obourg, and 
gradually hostile movement spread around the curve of the 
salient from Obourg to Nimy. At the latter point the Germans 
came on in massed formation and were shot down in dozens by 
the 4th Royal Fusiliers. Both these battalions had received 
orders to offer " a stubborn resistance," which they proceeded 
to do right well, their machine-gun and rifle- fire taking heavy 
toll of the enemy. As the southward wheel of von Kluck's 
Army progressed the attack spread gradually westwards along 
the canal towards Conde. 

In Cuesmes fraternising with the civilians had given way to 
action on the part of the troops in reserve. Mounted military 
police had during the morning galloped through the streets 
shouting " all troops back to billets," and ere long every man had 
"fallen in" outside his billet fully equipped and ready to move 
off. 

The Lincolnshire, in accordance with orders, marched off 
rapidly for a distance of three miles through cobbled streets along 
the road to Mons. They took up their position astride a long 
straight avenue which ran northwards to the centre of the town. 
Here they set to work to build barricades. Four were erected 
across the avenue at intervals of one hundred yards. Paving stones 
were pulled up, trees sawn down and placed across the road and 
with the help of piles of logs and iron piping lying by the road- 
side, effective obstacles were erected. In this the Lincolnshire 
were assisted by some civilians amongst whom was a girl who 
worked like a Trojan. 

The barricades were held by D Company, and the machine- 
gunners. C Company, on the right, held the byways in an 
enclosed area ; A Company dug trenches across some open 
ground to the left which permitted a field of fire of about two 
hundred yards : at this distance from their front a row of houses 
to the north obstructed any further view. B Company was m 
support. In these positions the 1st Lincolnshire awaited the 
development of the German attack. 

It is interesting to note how, as the southward wheel of von 
Kluck's army progressed, the attack spread gradually westward 
alone the line of the Canal. By 9 a.m. it was pressing on to 
engage the Middlesex at Obourg ; at 10 a.m. from Obourg the 
attack had spread to Nimy and gradually round the salient ; at 
1 1 a.m. the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Jemappes, two miles west 
of Mons, were engaged, and at Mariette, three and a half miles 

9 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

west of Mons, the two companies of Northumberland Fusiliers, 
well and skilfully disposed, had first brought to a standstill, and 
then driven back, the Germans as they pressed on to the Canal. 
But for the present only the noise of bursting shells, the 
barking of machine-guns and the rattle of musketry reached the 
Lincolnshire, though these significant sounds increased in volume 
and drew nearer. 

About noon, the Middlesex at Obourg, under heavy pressure, 
began to fall back westwards, first through Bois d'Havre and 
later to the northern slopes of Bois La Haut. At 2 p.m., the 
Royal Fusiliers at Nimy had, under orders, retired on Mons, 
and after reforming in the town, moved on again southwards to 
Ciply, passing through the Lincolnshire, to whom- they gave 
news of what had happened in the front line of the battle. 

The Lincolnshire now prepared to meet the enemy. They 
had not long to wait for presently German infantry swarmed 
round the corner of a street into the avenue across which the 
barricades had been erected. The order to fire was given im- 
mediately and machine-gun and rifle bullets tore gaps in the ranks 
of the enemy's troops, who fell back and took cover in the houses, 
where they in turn opened fire upon the Lincolnshire. The 
latter sustained a few casualties, but the Germans, exhausted after 
a hard day's fighting, were in no mood to lose more men, and 
turned westwards, leaving the barricades and the defenders 
severely alone, to the disappointment of the latter, who had 
eagerly anticipated their first fight. 

About 3 p.m., the Royal Scots Fusiliers had fallen back 
through Jemappes upon Frameries : followed between 4 p.m. 
and 5 p.m. by the two companies of Northumberland Fusiliers 
from Mariette. 

In accordance with orders the centre of the line of the II. 
Corps was in the process of withdrawing behind Mons when Sir 
John French received grave news from the French Commander- 
in-Chief : " About 5 p.m., I received a most unexpected message 
from General JofFre by telegraph telling me that at least three 
German Corps, viz., a Reserve Corps, 1 the IV. Corps and the 
IX. Corps were moving on my position in front and that the 
II. Corps was engaged in a turning movement from the 
direction of Tournay. He also informed me that the two reserve 
French divisions and the Fifth French Army on my right were 
retiring, the Germans having on the previous day gained pos- 
session of the passage of the Sambre between Charleroi and 
Namur.' 

Aerial reconnaissance having convinced Sir John of the danger 
threatening his front and right flank, the British Commander-in- 

1 The German HI. Corps. 
10 



MONS [AUG. Z3RD, 1914 

Chief ordered a retirement at daybreak on the 24th to the 
Maubeuge line. 

In the meantime the Lincolnshire at 6 p.m. on the 23rd re- 
ceived orders to withdraw from their positions on the Cuesmes- 
Mons road, acting as rearguard to the pth Brigade, the latter 
having been ordered to retire on Frameries. 

The battalion marched off in a south-easterly direction to 
Mesvin, and having passed through the 1st Wilts, pushed on 
to Nouvelles, acting for a time in support of the 8 th Infantry 
Brigade, the latter beating off a general attack between 7 and 8 
p.m. Later, the Lincolnshire marched westward again through 
Ciply to Frameries, where they took up a position in a large 
orchard on a ridge overlooking the road from Jemappes and 
Quaregnon. Here the men were soon busy with their entrench- 
ing tools throwing up cover and providing overhead protection 
in case of attack. By the time we got to our position in the 
orchard, the men were tired, but the company officers and 
n.c.o.s were indefatigable in their efforts to ensure that the 
position was well and deeply dug, etc. : well that they were. 
The importance of this was to be proved on the morrow. 

The Battle of Mons was over, in the words of the Official 
History of the war : " Altogether the British Commanders 
were not ill satisfied with the day's work. The unsatisfactory 
positions on the Canal had been imposed upon them 
fortuitously, but they had been held for a sufficient time and 
had been evacuated without great difficulty or disaster in favour 
of a second position only a mile or two in the rear. The 
men, too, were in high spirits, for they had met superior 
numbers of the most highly renowned army in the world and 
had given a good account of themselves." 1 



Ill 

THE RETREAT FROM MONS 

The night of the 23rd /24th August passed without serious 
disturbance of any kind from the enemy. At dawn on the 24th 
the British Expeditionary Force occupied a line facing roughly 
north-east, seventeen miles long, with the centre three miles 
south of Mons. The intention of Sir John French " to make 
a general retreat southwards of about eight miles " was com- 
municated to the Commanders of the I. and II. Corps during 

1 The British casualties on 23rd August number just over sixteen hundred all ranks, 
killed, wounded and missing. 

II 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 
the small hours of the morning of the 24th. {Official History, 
Vol. I, pp. 87-88 ; see also p. 90). 

The 3rd Division lay as follows — from right to left — 8tH 
Infantry Brigade at Nouvelles ; 7th at Ciply and the 9th at 
Frameries. % 

The 1 st Lincolnshire arriving at the railway bridge at Pram- 
eries about 10 p.m., was ordered to take over the northern edge 
of Frameries from another battalion of the Brigade. It was pitch 
dark, and nothing was visible of the front. The companies 
(three) took over the lines held by the other battalion in turn 




FRAMERIES 



and at once began improving them, with their entrenching imple- 
ments as best they could. The orchard in which the Lincoln- 
shire took up a position lay at the north-western extremity of 
Frameries. The position was by no means ideal, but possessed 
some good features, both for concealment and defence. Two 
sides of the orchard were held, at right angles facing north and 
west^ and a ditch along a paved road, in front of a factory built 
of brick. _ There were huge mounds of slag in front of us,, as it 
was a mining district. 1 A detached post in front of the line was 
held by Lieutenant Buller and a platoon. It was in close contact 
with the Germans. As soon as it was light the enemy opened 

1 Much of the country south of the Mons-Cortde Canal is a mining district, and the 
area for four or five miles to the west of the Mons-Frameries road is practically one large 
unsightly village. 



12 



THE RETREAT [aug. 24.TH, 1914 

with his artillery, probably about 4 a.m. The piquet came in, 
and one of them reported that Lieutenant Buller was hit. The 
shell-fire now became very heavy — shells bursting on the paved 
road and destroying the factory behind it. It became so hot 
in this ditch from the burning house that the men in it were 
withdrawn to the orchard. B Company held the side of the 
orchard at right angles to the front, and suffered many casualties 
from enfilade fire as the German attack progressed. The 
company, commanded by Captain Rose, " hung on with the 
greatest determination and pluck, and stuck it out to the end." 
{Lieut. -Colonel Smith.") 

From the left of the orchard there was a steep slope downwards 
towards the north-west for a distance of some six hundred yards 
to a cornfield several acres in extent in which rows of wheat 
stooks had been left. Small groups of Germans of from six to eight 
men tried to advance by working from stook to stook ; but these 
gave no protection against the well-sustained and accurate fire of 
the Lincolnshire, and so terrible was the execution inflicted on the 
enemy that, unable to make headway, he abandoned the attempt. 

" It was undoubtedly the steady and accurate fire of the Lin- 
colnshire which enabled them to maintain their position. The 
Germans seemed quite nonplussed. They no doubt expected 
to get close up to our position without serious loss and then rush 
it. The enemy also probably exaggerated the effect of the in- 
tense shell-fire, which our night-long preparations had seriously 
discounted. 

"' Whilst in action our machine-guns did great execution ; but 
in such a cramped position it was inevitable that they should be 
quickly located and knocked out. They were fought to the last 
by Lieutenant Holmes, a most gallant and capable officer, whose 
death was a very serious loss to the battalion. Private Stroulger 
very gallantly drove his machine-gun limber close up to the 
position and took away some of the wounded. He was later 
awarded the D.C.M." {W.E.B. Smith.) 

The South Lancashire who were acting as rearguard to the 
7th Brigade (as the 1st Lincolnshire were to the 9th) were also 
attacked ; but together the two battalions held up the advance 
of the enemy, and covered the withdrawal of the two brigades to 
Genly. Finally, after some three or four hours' fighting, the 
enemy broke off the attack. The Lincolnshire, still acting as rear- 
guard to the 9th Brigade, withdrew in a south-westerly direction. 

The casualties of the 1st Lincolnshire on the 23rd and 24th 
August numbered four officers and one hundred and thirty other 
ranks. 1 It was impossible to evacuate the severely wounded, 

1 Lieutenants L.M. Buller and E.H. Welchman were killed, Captain F.C. Rose was 
wounded and Lieutenant C.C. Holmes wounded and died of wounds on 26th August, 1914. 

13 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

and these, with practically all the stretcher-bearers, who gallantly 
carried their wounded to the Convent in Frameries after the 
battalion had withdrawn, fell into the hands of the enemy : only 
the walking cases got away. 

But this action was so greatly to the credit of the British 
troops that it is worth while quoting from German extracts of the 
fighting as given in the Official {Military) history of the war {Vol. 
I, pp. 92-93). The attack on the Lincolnshire and South 
Lancashire was made by a whole German division — the 6th of 
the III. Corps. 

The historian of the 24th (Brandenburg) Regiment states that 
the assault was prepared by artillery fire : "A continuous stream 
of gun and howitzer shells thundered out, hurtling over our heads 
and bursting in smoke and dust on the edge of the village. No 
human being could possibly live there. At 7 a.m., six companies 
of the regiment 1 advanced to the attack. ... If we thought that 
the English had been shelled enough to be storm-ripe we were 
greatly mistaken. They met us with well-aimed fire." The 
historian of the Regiment was with a reserve company and the 
latter was sent forward. As it reached the firing line the men 
shouted " Vorwarts 1 " expecting to carry the firing line with 
them, but : " there were only dead and wounded to be seen. 
Tommy seems to have waited for the moment of assault, and 
when we were well into the open he turned his machine-gun on." 
The Germans mistook the rapid fire of the British infantry 
for machine-gun fire. 

At last, when the enemy did enter Frameries, they found the 
defenders had vanished : " Up to all the tricks of the trade from 
their experience of small wars, the English veterans brilliantly 
understood how to slip off at the last moment." The enemy's 
casualties were exceptionally heavy, all German accounts agreeing 
on this point. 

With faces blackened by the smoke from bursting shells and 
their own rifle-fire, utterly tired out but undaunted, the Lincoln- 
shire retired from Frameries, taking the road towards Eugies, 
Along dusty lanes, and in a fierce heat, the battalion fell back for 
about three miles and then halted in a field under cover of a wood. 
The transport, with the cook's cart carrying the day's rations 
and the few provisions left over from the last issue of rations on 
the previous morning, had gone ahead. The hungry troops were 
given permission to eat their iron rations. The latter consisted 
of one tin of " bully beef," eight biscuits, a piece of cheese and 
a tin containing a small quantity of tea and sugar. To make 
tea, however, was out of the question and water had to take its 
place. 

1 In 1914 a German infantry regiment consisted of three battalions. 



FRAMERIES 



[AUG. 24.TH, 1914 



It was during this halt that the CO., Lieut.-Colonel Smith, 
delivered to the battalion a message he had just received from 
the Brigade Commander, in which the latter expressed his 
appreciation of the splendid tenacity the Lincolnshire had dis- 




FRAMERIES 



Plan of the position occupied at Frameries by the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment 
on the 33rd August, 1914. The ten crosses on the plan indicate the positions of the graves 
of officers and other ranks identified by Captains Masters and Stapleton, on the 1st 
December, 1918. 

played in maintaining their position, and his pride in having 
such a battalion in his brigade. . 

For about an hour, unmolested by the enemy, the Lincolnshire 
rested, and then, still acting as rearguard to the 9th Brigade, 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

resumed the march. In order to " march light," great coats 
and packs were left behind : they had been terrible burdens in 
the almost tropical heat. The Brigade was retiring on Sars- 
Ia-Bruyere, via Eugies. 

It was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3 p.m. when the 
3rd Division marched from the Genly-Sars-la-Bruyere position 
for Bavai and to the villages to the south-west of that town. 

The Lincolnshire, on resuming the march, passed through 
Eugies, Sars-la-Bruyere and Bavai to Bermeries, nightfall finding 
the battalion resting in a field near the village. 

The Lincolnshire had marched roughly fourteen miles that 
day — the 24th August — the first day of the Retreat : they had 
had a stiff fight with the enemy, but dog-tired as they were, they 
lay down in a deserted harvest field, with sheaves of oats un- 
gathered about them, in the proud knowledge that they had done 
their duty ; they had met the most highly-trained and renowned 
troops in the world and had beaten them to a standstill : their 
only troubles were want of sleep and food. More lucky than 
some other units of the 3rd Division who, long after nightfall, 
continued to pass the cross roads at Bavai to their allotted posi- 
tions, the Lincolnshire had now the prospect of a few hours' 
rest. 

The ever-threatening outflanking movements of the enemy 
convinced Sir John French that it was the enemy's intention to 
hem the B.E.F. against the fortress of Maubeuge (as indeed it 
was) and surround it. A continuation of the retirement to the 
neighbourhood of Le Cateau was, therefore, ordered, the with- 
drawal to begin early next morning. The II. Corps was to 
fall back west of the For6t de Mormal to the Le Cateau-Caudry- 
Haucourt line, but the I. Corps (owing to the position occupied 
by the B.E.F.) was obliged to move east of the forest. 

Before the sun had risen on the 25th the troops were again on 
the move. The Lincolnshire set out at 4.30 a.m., in a south- 
westerly direction, with Inchy (on the Le Cateau-Cambrai road) 
as their destination. The route given to the 9th Brigade lay 
through the villages of Gommegnies, Villereau, Le Quesnoy, 
Neuville, Solesmes and Neuvilly : the 8 th Brigade was on the 
right of the 9th and the 7th was acting as the rearguard of the 
3rd Division : the 5th Division was on the left of the 3rd — the 
Roman Road, running in a south-westerly direction along the 
western edges of the ForSt de Mormal, having been allotted 
to the Division for the retirement to the Le Cateau position. 

Beyond the usual ten minutes' halt at the end of every hour, 
the troops had little rest. As the sun rose higher in the skies 
their discomfort increased. They had had no food and very 
little water. When the periodical halt took place near a well 
16 



THE RETREAT [aug. 25TH, 19 14 

there was a rush to fill water bottles, but only a few succeeded in 
refilling before the time was up to move again. 

Early in the day a German aeroplane — a Taube — appeared 
above the Lincolnshire and immediate orders were issued to the 
battalion to close in along the roadside and open rapid fire. 
Like a wounded bird the Taube made off in a northerly direction, 
but had not proceeded far when a British 'plane appeared and 
gave chase. Intense excitement prevailed amongst the troops 
as they saw the British machine mount higher and higher and 
eventually get above the German. Then followed the sound of 
rapid shots and the Taube turned south again flying directly over 
the battalion but obviously coming down. It landed in a field 
close to the Lincolnshire and its occupants, both badly wounded, 
were made prisoners. The wings and fuselage of the machine 
were riddled with rifle bullets and the Lincolnshire thus shared 
with the British aviator the honour of being amongst the first 
British troops to bring down a German aeroplane. 

The heat at midday was sweltering. Those who felt it most 
were the reservists, but the dusty roads were a trial to all. 
Crowds of refugees, mostly women and children or aged men— 
for all the young men had been called up to join the Armies of 
France — carrying with them whatever of their worldly belong- 
ings it was possible to get away, or trundling them along in 
hand-carts or perambulators, obstructed the roads and had to 
be side-tracked. Every conceivable kind of vehicle, farm carts, 
wagons, dog-carts, even carriages filled with refugees fleeing 
from the oncoming Germans, jostled each other in mad haste to 
place distance between themselves and " Les Allemands." 

Between 4 and 5 p.m. a heavy thunderstorm burst and in a 
few minutes everyone was drenched to the skin. At last, about 
6 p.m., Inchy was sighted and the hungry foot-sore troops 
entered the village fit to drop. Billets were small and over- 
crowded, but in some the men found washing and drinking 
water : that at least was a God-send. No one, however, "was 
permitted to undress, so that whatever rest was possible had to 
be taken in wet clothes. The village was bare of food. 

The distance marched by the 1st Lincolnshire on the 25th 
August was between fifteen and twenty miles. 

Under orders to continue the retreat at six o'clock the next 
morning, those who were not detailed for outpost, guard, or 
other duties, laid down to rest. About midnight, however, the 
battalion was suddenly ordered to stand to arms. Two platoons 
under Lieutenant Thruston were sent to reinforce the outpost 
line. British mounted troops passing through Inchy gave the 
Lincolnshire news that the 7th Brigade — the rearguard of the 
3rd Division — and cavalry had been engaged at Solesmes, whilst 

c T7 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the I. Corps had also been attacked at Maroilles and Landrecies, 
two villages on the south-eastern outskirts of the ForSt de 
Mormal. The enemy was close upon the heels of the British 
Expeditionary Force. 



IV 

THE BATTLE OF LE CATEAU : 26TH AUGUST, I9I4 

The 1st Lincolnshire, as already stated, reached Inchy between 
6 and 7 p.m. on the 25th, and other units of the 3rd Division 
also reached their billets about that time. But the rearguards of 
the Division were retiring to the Le Cateau position far into the 
night, and when at 2 a.m. on the 26th the G.O.C. Division 
(Hubert Hamilton) was asked by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien " if 
it was possible to get on the move during the hours of darkness," 
he replied that " many units of the Division were only just coming 
in and that he did not think that he could get them formed up 
for retreat before 9 a.m." {Official History, Vol. I.) General 
Allenby also said his cavalry were much scattered and would be 
unable to render much assistance in covering the retirement 
next day. Sir Horace, therefore, reluctantly decided that he 
must stand his ground and fight. 

The Lincolnshire passed the night in crowded billets in the 
village of Inchy. After many alarms the night passed and at 
5 a.m. the battalion was formed up in the main street, and the 
men were given a drink of tea and a piece of bread as they stood 
in the ranks. Cavalry passed through. As soon as they had 
gone the battalion marched out of the village and took up a line 
to the south of it, " about halfway down an open slope about three 
hundred metres from the village." 1 The Brigade Commander 
promised to send the brigade tool carts, and the battalion com- 
menced digging at once. The 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers were 
on the right, and the 2nd Royal Scots of the 8th Brigade on the 
left of the Lincolnshire. The village of Inchy lay in a dip and 
from our trench the whole of the long open slopes north of the 
village down which the Germans had to advance was visible. 
Behind us and at the top of the slope were some of our guns well 
entrenched and concealed. 

The German artillery began firing about 6.30 a.m., not very 
heavily at first. Their infantry came over the opposite sky line, 

1 The description of the ground and the position taken up is from Colonel Toogood's 
Diary. He was -wounded before the retirement took place, whilst observing the Germans 
through his field glasses. 

18 



LE CATEAU [aug. 26th, 1914 

and down the open slope in extended lines. Our guns opened 
on them with some effect. By degrees the Germans got down 
to the village and into it, where they were out of sight, until they 
reappeared on the outskirts of the village nearest to us, when our 
companies at once opened a heavy fire on them. A message 
was received to the effect that our aeroplanes reported that no 
great German forces were coming up. This news did not appear 
to be correct as more and more lines of Germans came over the 
skyline and down the slope, and established themselves in the 




LE CATEAXT 



village. They got their machine-guns to work as well as sharp- 
shooters, who had apparently spotted our piece of trench, as 
whenever a head was raised a bullet came past it. The trenches 
were fairly good, but it was impossible to keep a good look-out 
on the Germans, which was necessary lest they rushed us from 
the village, without exposing oneself. The Germans were thick 
along the edge of the village, and our guns frequently turned on 
them, and set some buildings on fire. 

The pressure of the German attack on the right of the II. 
^orps, the 5th Division, had been so great that Sir Horace 
omith-Dorrien instructed Sir Charles Fergusson, between 1 and 
2 •°u C i 0ck> to nold his ground a tittle longer, but " to begin the 
Withdrawal of the 5th Division as soon as he should think fit ; 
after which the 3rd and 4th Divisions were to follow in succes- 
sion ' (Official History, Vol /, p. 163.) 

About 3 p.m., Brigadier-General Shaw observed that the 

19 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

troops on his right were retreating, and about 3.30 p.m., received 
orders to conform. " Pushing up the Royal Fusiliers from the 
reserve to the north-western edge of Troisvilles, he brought away 
nearly all his wounded, after which he withdrew in succession 
the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Lincolnshire with very 
trifling loss. The German skirmishers lining the southern edge 
of Inchy tried hard to hinder the movement, but were silenced by 
the advanced sections of the 107th and 108th Batteries. As the 
last party of the Lincolnshire came abreast of the advanced section 
of the 1 08th Battery the officer in command, having fired off 
his last round of ammunition, disabled and abandoned his guns." 
{Official History, Vol. I, p. 170.) 

On the further side of the ridge, and at the southern base, 
there was a sunken road in which the seriously wounded were 
placed in safety. After crossing the sunken road and a railway 
line, the retirement was continued across a beetroot field which, 
owing to the rain of the previous night, was slippery, and clods 
of clayey earth clung to the men's feet, making progress slow. 
But fortunately the enemy failed to follow up the retiring troops, 
and the latter, unmolested, plodded along, crossing fields and 
ditches until well out of range of rifle-fire. 

Eventually a road, crossing the line of retirement diagonally, 
was reached, and here officers and n.c.o.s formed the men 
into small parties and directed by Colonel Smith, marched them 
to a rallying point at some cross-roads near Clary, where the 
battalion was formed up without delay. Companies were, 
however, still somewhat scattered. The majority of A and B 
andabout half of D were present, but the majority of C Company 
(which had held the right of the position at Inchy) had retired 
through Troisvilles and did not rejoin until next day (27th). 
Another party of D Company under Captain Ellison retired 
through Bertry and, after passing through some Highlanders and 
a battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, caught up with the main 
body of the battalion later. 

The casualties suffered by the battalion at Le Cateau were 
Major C. Toogood wounded by a sniper and left in the trenches, 
three other ranks killed, forty wounded and fifty missing, though 
most of the latter rejoined later. 

From Clary the 3rd Division— the 9th Infantry Brigade 
acting as rearguard— moved on Beaurevoir. Not a German 
followed, not even a cavalry patrol, not a shell was fired at the 
brigade as it drew out of Clary. The enemy was wholly occupied 
with the few remaining units 1 which had not received orders to 

r,iJr ) w ?1 ?? a T of ™ Royal Irish ' some R °y al Scots and t&> g*»*« P" 4 of the IS ^ 
the 4S SsST Were ak0 Seaforths and K.O.YA.I. and some troops of 

20 



THE RETREAT RESUMED [Atro . 3 6th, i 9 i 4 

retire in time to get away, and were selling their lives dearly : 
but many officers and men did eventually break through. 
Though a mere handful and scattered along a wide front— some 
eight thousand yards — they nevertheless by their courage and 
tenacity prevented the enemy from advancing for several hours : 
the service they rendered to the II. Corps was invaluable. 



V 



THE RETREAT RESUMED 



" 6 p.m. The Brigade (9th) marched to Clary, there being 
no sign of the enemy, and Beaurevoir was reached. It was very 
wet and the roads were bad and full of troops and transport of 




THE RETREAT 



all descriptions. Beaurevoir being completely blocked by the 
3rd and 5th Divisions, the Brigade halted on the road at the 
northern exits and remained there till 2 a.m., on the 27th, when 
orders were received from Headquarters, 3rd Division, to pro- 
ceed to Hargicourt, still acting as rearguard to the Division." 1 
Whilst a handful of men was hampering the German advance, 
the main body of General Smith-Dorrien's force was in full 



1 Extract from Diary 9th Brigade Headquarters 26. 8. 14. 



21 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

retreat. 1 The 5th and 3rd Divisions were a good deal inter- 
mixed and at the cross-roads two miles beyond Estrees, the 
sorting of the troops was taken in hand, " difficult enough on a 
dark and dismal night." {Official History, Vol I, p. 191.) 
Staff officers stood at the cross-roads shouting : " Transport 
and mounted troops straight on : 3rd Division Infantry to the 
right, 5th Division Infantry to the left," and as the men turned 
they were again sorted out by battalions and brigades. It was 
2 a.m., before the separation and reforming of the two divisions 
was completed, and then (as stated in the extract at the head of 
this chapter) orders were received by the 9th Brigade to march 
on Hargicourt as rearguard to the Division. 

The march to Beaurevoir and Estrees had been a trying one, 
as the troops had held their trenches at Le Cateau throughout 
the heat of that scorching day without food. Physically the 
troops were nearly worn out, but morally their spirit was 
unbroken. 

When they reached the cross-roads just beyond Estrees they 
had already marched fifteen miles from Le Cateau and now, at 
4 a.m., they were ordered on again to Hargicourt. 

" At daybreak they were still marching. The rain ceased 
and as the sun rose in the heavens its rays became hotter and 
hotter. No one kept count of time. No one bothered about 
which villages were passed through. The only village that 
mattered was the one in which the battalion would billet wherever 
it might be, as there would then be a chance of getting some 
sleep and perhaps some rations." (From Q.M.S. North's narrative 
of the 1st Lincolnshire.) 

Food indeed was wanted badly, and it was exasperating to 
be told that rations would be issued in the " next village," 
when the " next " was like the to-morrow which never comes, 2 
The 3rd Division reached Hargicourt at about 8 a.m. (27th) 
and halted,, the Lincolnshire being rear battalion of the 9th 
Brigade, which still acted as rearguard to the Division. But' 
at^ 1 p.m., the march was resumed south to Villeret, about two 
miles south-west of Bellicourt. 

Here the Lincolnshire went into billets, but whatever dreams 
the battalion might have had of food and rest were rudely dis- 
sipated by sudden orders to turn out and take up a position to 
cover the rear of the brigade. 

A small party of German cavalry, accompanied by guns, had 
succeeded m getting within range and fired a few shots into the 

_ * The German Intelligence was very poor at this period. To begin with, von Kluck 
imagined that at Le Cateau we held a north and south line, whereas it was from east to 
west, and when we retired he thought we had done so in a westerly direction. 

2 The Supply Columns had missed the 3rd Division and the latter was without rations 
from the 25th to the afternoon of the 27th August. 

22 



THE RETREAT RESUMED [AUG . 28 th, i 9 i 4 

village, but on the fire being returned the enemy quickly- 
disappeared. 

The position taken up by the Lincolnshire was on some 
rising ground between Hargicourt and Villeret. Companies 
were aligned in the following order from right to left: A, B, D, C. 
After waiting in this position for an hour or more without 
sighting the enemy, or any more shells being fired, the battalion 
withdrew across beet fields, sodden with rain and thick in clinging 
mud, then forming up on the road in column of route, marched 
on Vermand, the destination of the 3rd Division. 

At Villeret, C Company and a few odd men of other companies 
under Major Grant rejoined the battalion after acting as rear- 
guard, covering the retirement of a stream of stragglers from the 
Le Cateau battlefield. 

It was about 6 p.m. when the 9th Brigade marched into 
Vermand, the Lincolnshire turning into the buildings of a large 
farm where the men were able to obtain water for washing pur- 
poses and refilling water bottles, and a few hours sleep. But 
still no food, as supplies failed to reach the battalion. 1 

At 9 p.m., Brigade Headquarters received orders to continue 
the march at midnight on Ham, again acting as rearguard to the 
Division, and the battalion was once more on the march. 

At about 10 a.m., on the 28th, the Lincolnshire halted at 
, Estouilly, on the northern outskirts of Ham. The battalion 
then extended at right angles to the road along some undulating 
ground. Here local inhabitants were working on the con- 
struction of trenches as if a stand was to be made and Ham 
defended. The work was taken over by the troops, but had to 
be carried on with entrenching tools. 

Supplies had been issued to the 3rd Division at Vermand at 
4 P-m. on the previous afternoon, but no food seems to have 
reached the Lincolnshire. From Estouilly, however, on the 
28th a party was sent to Ham for the purpose of obtaining food 
and although only one .tin of biscuits and a dozen small tins of 
bully beef could be obtained, these were distributed amongst the 
troops, each receiving a tiny morsel. But it was better than 
nothing and seemed to give them fresh energy when a further 
retirement was ordered about midday on Noyon. As the 
Lincolnshire marched into Ham the town appeared to be de- 
serted, but whatever hopes had been entertained of a rest in 
billets were quickly dissipated as the battalion passed right 
through without halting. 

The march on the 2 8th August was the hardest of all. A fierce 
sun beat down upon the troops as they trudged along the hot 

The distance marched on 27th was approximately seventeen miles without counting 
deployments. 

a-3 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

roads. The battalion, as rearguard to the 9th Brigade, had a 
very difficult task. C and D Companies were detached to take 
up rearguard positions on either side of the road, forming a 
screen behind the column, keeping in touch with the main body- 
by alternate and successive retirements. . 

The road between Ham and Noyon was practically straight 
the whole way. It was lined with trees, but they offered very 
little shelter from the sun. On this day straggling was more 
noticeable. Many men fell out exhausted or suffering from 
sore feet, so that they were unable to march further. In order 
to provide vehicles in which to carry these poor fellows, stores 
and ammunition were dumped by the roadside. {Official 
History, Vol. I, p. 198.) 

But there were others who did not apparently know what 
fatigue was. Amongst these was Lance-Corporal Snelling, a 
drummer who, on the long and weary stretch from Ham to 
Guiscard (the latter being about halfway between Ham and 
Noyon), continued to play enlivening airs such as " Tipperary," 
which had a wonderful effect in keeping the battalion going. 

It was about 6.30 p.m. when the 9th Brigade reached Crissoles 
(north of Noyon) practically " all out." The Lincolnshire 
wheeled into a field, where they found their transport (it had not 
been seen since Mons), parked with that belonging to other 
units. B and C Companies billeted in farms and cottages ; 
A Company bivouacked in a cornfield, and D, which was still 
performing the duties of rearguard, marched in when it was 
dark and also went into billets, leaving one platoon on outpost 
duty. 

Having found the battalion cooks and their wagons, little 
time was lost in making tea, which all ranks had not tasted for 
five days. By the time it was ready to be served darkness had 
fallen. The men with their canteen tins formed up and filed 
past their respective Company Quartermaster-Sergeants, who 
ladled out the precious liquid. Alas !. in the darkness salt 
instead of sugar had been put into the tea. 

With the exception of those on outpost and inlying piquet, 
the Lincolnshire enjoyed several hours sleep that night. 

The next morning (the 29th) the battalion awoke greatly 
refreshed and an excellent breakfast of tea, bully beef and biscuits 
(supplies having arrived) produced a wonderful change in both 
officers and men. They had marched twenty-seven miles on 
the previous day — an astounding performance when it is remem- 
bered that they had had practically nothing to eat. 

The 2,9th August was a rest day, for orders issued on the 
28 th stated that " it is the Field-Marshal Commander-in-Chiefs 
intention that the Army should halt to-morrow (29th) to rest, 
24 



THE RETREAT RESUMED [AUG . 29TH , I9I4 

but all formations must be south of the line Vendeuil (four miles 
north of La Fere)— Jussy-Ham-Nesle, and will take steps for 
local protection." 

With the exception of a few minor adjustments (in the 4th 
Division which moved to the area Bussy-Sermaize-Chevilly) 
the morning of the 29th found the B.E.F. holding approximately 
the following positions : the I. Corps was extended along the 
northern edge of the forest of St. Gobain and Coucy from 
Fressancourt to Amigny, the 5th Cavalry Brigade was at Sinceny : 
the II. Corps (including the 4th Division and 19th Infantry 
Brigade) from Freniches, through Genvry to Pontoise : 1st, 
2nd and 3rd Cavalry Brigades — Berlan court, Flavy le Meldeux- 
Le Plessis, and Jussy respectively, and the 4th Cavalry Brigade 
three miles south of Nesle, at Cressy. 

There was still a gap of about eleven miles between the I. 
and II. Corps, but they were gradually closing in. From all 
accounts, German Headquarters regarded the British Expedi- 
tionary Force as beaten beyond hope of speedy recovery, and 
were energetically extending their enveloping movement west- 
wards. Indeed, German General Headquarters at this period 
were extraordinarily optimistic. 

The 29th August, however, was not passed by the 9 th Brigade 
wholly undisturbed. In the morning the Lincolnshire for the 
first time since leaving Mons had an opportunity for cleaning 
up. 

At dawn the cooks with Line " B " Transport departed, 
leaving the troops to do their own cooking. Noon was approach- 
ing and the dinner hour not far off, when heavy gun-fire caused 
Jta battalion to be suddenly ordered to fall in. Without 
hesitation the pots containing the stews were lifted from the 
fires and carried on parade. 

The 2nd Cavalry Brigade was engaged with a force of Germans 
of all arms advancing from the direction of Ham. To support 
the cavalry the 9th Brigade was ordered to take up a position 
three miles north of Noyon, astride the Ham-Guiscard road. 
-Lhe Lincolnshire were in support of the Northumberland and 
Koyal Fusiliers, and as the battalion marched back along the 
road for two miles, the stews were passed round to their owners 
and eaten on the march. 

After awhile the two rear battalions, Royal Fusiliers and 
Northumberland Fusiliers, passed through the Lincolnshire, 
leaving the latter as rearguard. At dusk C and D Companies 
Were withdrawn, A and B establishing a line of outposts. About 
1 a.m. on the 30th the battalion was ordered to withdraw as 
quietly and quickly as possible through Noyon, It was 2 a.m. 
oerore the outposts (with the exception of a patrol under 

25 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Captain Ellison) were withdrawn. The retirement was then 
continued. 1 

Dawn was breaking as the Lincolnshire, skirting the eastern 
exits of Noyon, struck the straight road between that village and 
Cuts. The battalion passed through St. Blaise and a little 
beyond, crossed the bridge over the Oise Canal, which had 
already been prepared for demolition by the Royal Engineers. 
One minute after the rearguard was clear of the bridge the 
latter " went up." A little further on the bridge over the Oise 
River was demolished in a similar manner, whilst the battalion 
was having its first ten minutes halt in Pontoise. 

Some anxiety was felt regarding Captain Ellison and his 
patrol, which had not jet rejoined, but they had been guarding 
the bridges at Varennes until the latter were demolished and 
marched in some hours later. 

At about 4.30 a.m., the Lincolnshire reached Cuts, where 
Divisional Headquarters and the remainder of the 9th Brigade 
were billeted. The Brigade Column was already formed up 
ready to move off when the battalion reached Cuts. The latter, 
therefore, joined the column, which, at 5 a.m., set out southwards 
in the direction of Berny Riviere. 

The day's march lay through some of the fairest country in 
France. The fierce rays of the sun beat down upon the fields 
of golden corn, upon orchards heavy with fruit which would 
never be gathered save by the hands of the invader. The troops 
passed through tiny villages nestling amidst shady valleys or 
perched upon the brows of hills. But the roads were hot and 
dusty and the " tramp, tramp, tramp " of marching men 
smothered the singing of the birds, and the rumbling of gun 
carriages and transport was not unlike the roar of traffic in a 
London street. Footsore and exhausted men were compelled 
to drop out and rest by the roadside until they were either picked 
up or had sufficiently recovered to join in the stream of stragglers 
which followed ever in the wake of the column. 

Close to the village of Morsain, between 1 1 a.m. and noon, 
the column halted for further orders. During this halt the 
battalion was met by supply wagons from which rations were 
issued. A meal was then taken, followed by a short rest before 
the march was resumed at 2.45 p.m. 

About 6 p.m. the battalion crossed the bridge over the Aisne 
river at Vic-sur-Aisne and two hours later reached Ressons, 
where officers and men were billeted in cottages. The distance 
marched on 30th August was about twenty-five miles, but when the 
roll was called at night it was found that all stragglers had rejoined. 

1 At 6 p.m. on the 29th the 3rd Division set out on the road to Cuts, the 5th 
Division to Carlepont and the 4th Division to the north of Carlepout 

26 



THE RETREAT RESUMED [ SEPT . isr, , 9 i 4 

Another march of fifteen miles on the 31st brought the Lin- 
colnshire to the hamlet of Vauciennes, south-west of Villers 
Cotterets. The pressure of the enemy had relaxed considerably 
and the day's march was the most comfortable experienced for 
a week, the men having recovered marvellously from the hard 
gruelling of the previous days. Vauciennes was, however, 
crowded with troops, and the battalion bivouacked for the night 
on some open ground by the roadside west of the village. 

Reveille on 1 st September was at 4 a.m., when the whole of 
the 9th Brigade " stood to " awaiting orders. The latter were 
issued at 5.30 a.m. — the 3rd Division was to march to the 
Villers St. Genest-Bregy area. 

At 9.30 a.m., the Lincolnshire set out from Vauciennes and 
had been on the road about two hours when a halt was called 
a mile from Gondreville. Firing was heard in rear and on 
the right flank in the direction of Crepy-en-Valois. {Official 
History^ Vol. Z, p. 240.) At the latter place the outpost 
line of the 5th Division had been attacked at 6 a.m. by troops 
of Marwitz's Cavalry Corps. By noon the action was over, and 
at 2 p.m., the brigade resumed its march, the Lincolnshire 
reaching Bouillancy at 7 p.m., when they went into billets with 
other units of the 9th Brigade. The 3rd Division that night 
occupied the line Villers St. Genest-Bouillancy-Chevreville. 

On the 2nd September the 3rd Division continued its march 
by Bregy and Douay to the Ivernay-Monthyon area. The 
Lincolnshire, setting out at 4.30 a.m., acted as rearguard of 
the 9th Brigade. The march was monotonous, but billets in 
Penchard were reached soon after midday : for once the day's 
march was over early and everyone settled down in comfort to 
a good night's rest. 

Orders issued at 9.15 p.m. from 3rd Divisional Headquarters 
on the 2nd stated that on the 3rd the Division was to march 
in a south-easterly direction and take up a position east of the 
Foret de Mans in conjunction with the remainder of the Army. 
The 3rd Division was to march by the Penchard-Meaux- 
Boutingy road. 

Again, on the 3rd, the Lincolnshire reached their billets early. 
Marching at 4.15 a.m., they took the Meaux road, and having 
marched ten miles, halted from n a.m. to 12 noon, and con- 
tinuing the march arrived at a farm situated between Vaucourtois 
and Maison Blanche, during the early afternoon. The weather 
Was still very hot, but the roads were good, though everyone was 
tired when their destination was reached. 

Having " stood to " during the morning of the 4th ready to 
move off at short notice, it was 1 p.m. before the Lincolnshire 
marched off. After about a mile the battalion halted in a field 

27 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

near La Haute Maison, as that morning, at about 12 noon, a 
squadron of German cavalry had gained contact with the 3rd 
Divisional Mounted Troops attached to the 9th Infantry Brigade 
for outpost duty. Three or four of these Germans were wounded. 
Orders were issued to all units of the Brigade as to the positions 
to be taken up should an attack develop. 

At 8 p.m., the battalion marched off to another field near 
La Consuite and again " stood by " in case an attack developed. 
The retirement continued through the night to the area Liverdy- 
Chatres-Le Mesnil, a long monotonous march passing through 
the town and forest of Crecy. Daylight on the 5th found the 
Lincolnshire marching along the edge of a beautiful park at 
Chatres 1 and at 7.15 a.m. they arrived at Liverdy, where they 
billeted. They had marched sixteen miles during the night of 
4th /5th September and ten miles on the 4th, and when the 
battalion reached Liverdy all ranks were tired out. But there, 
troubles were so far ended — the great retreat was at an end, 
though it was late in the day before the news reached the 
battalion. In the meantime, after a few hours' sleep, all ranks 
set to work to remove the visible signs of that now historic 
fortnight of marching and fighting, to and from Mons to the 
Marne. Blistered and sore feet were attended to, uniforms were 
repaired, and the dust shaken from them, stubbly beards dis- 
appeared, and the battalion once more assumed its wonted 
smartness. 

Late that night, when the troops were told they were to advance 
on the morrow they could hardly believe it, but the deafening 
cheers which greeted the announcement left no doubt that the 
British soldier was himself again and that he had come through 
the ordeal of that great retreat still stout of heart and full of fight. 
From the 20th August, on which date the move up to Mons 
had begun, to the 5th September — sixteen days — the 3rd 
Division had marched no less than two hundred and thirty-seven 
miles and had fought two big battles. 

" The Retreat from Mons was in every way honourable 
to the Army. The troops suffered under every disadvantage. 
The number of reservists in the ranks was on an average 
over one-half of the full strength and the units were, 
owing to the force of circumstances, hurried away to the area of 
concentration before all ranks could resume acquaintance with 
their officers and comrades, and re-learn their business as soldiers. 
Arrived there, they were hastened forward by forced marches 

1 The German outposts on the 5th September -were south of the Grand Morin, the 
nearest about five miles from Chatres. On the same date the French Sixth Army had 
commenced attack on von Kluck's right at Penchard, where the Lincolnshire halted 
on the 2nd. 

28 



THE MARNE [SEPT . 7TH , i 9 i 4 

to the battle, confronted with greatly superior numbers of the 
most renowned army in Europe — condemned at the very outset 
to undergo the severest ordeal which can be imposed upon an 
army. They were short of food and sleep when they began their 
retreat, they continued it always short of food and sleep for 
thirteen days, as has been told ; and at the end they were still 
an army, and a formidable army. They were never demoralized, 
for they rightly judged they had never been beaten." {Official 
History, Vol, I, p. 260.) 



VI 

THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE : 7TH-IOTH SEPTEMBER, 1914 

The order to the British Expeditionary Force to advance, 
referred to, at the end of the last chapter was consequent on the 
decision of the French Commander-in-Chief General JofFre : 
" The moment for which General JofFre had waited was come at 
last. Von Kluck in his headlong rush eastwards had, it appeared, 
ignored not only the fortress of Paris, but the Sixth (French) 
Army, which, with the British, was now in position ... to fall 
in strength on his right flank and rear." ( Official History, 
Vol I, p. 2 $9.) 

At 6 a.m. the Lincolnshire fell in. Everyone was in a cheerful 
mood, for the advance was about to begin, and a little later the 
battalion moved along the dusty roads with a hot sun beating 
down upon the lines of marching men. At about 9.30 a.m. a 
halt was called in an apple orchard at La Houssaye Farm, the 
trees screening the troops from the enemy's aeroplanes, which 
were busy observing. At 1.45 p.m. the march was resumed. 
After numerous halts during the afternoon the Lincolnshire 
arrived at the Chateau de Lumigny and were billeted in the sur- 
rounding farm buildings. That night the head of the 3rd 
Division reached Faremoutiers, whence the 1st Wiltshire, 7th 
Brigade, forced the passage of the Grand Morin about 1 r p.m., 
and seized the heights of Le Chamois, about a mile north of the 
river. (Official History, Vol. /, jp. 27 5.) 

With the exception of a Special Order of the Day, 1 issued at 
7 p.m., no orders were issued for the 7th September, only a 

1 Special Order of the Day, 6th September, 1 9 14. 

" After a most trying series of operations mostly in retirement, which have been rendered 
necessary for the general strategic plan of the Allied Armies, the British Forces stand to-day 
formed in line with their French comrades, ready to attack the enemy. 

" Foiled in their attempt to invest Paris, the Germans have been driven to move in an 
easterly and south-easterly direction with the apparent intention of falling in strength on 
the Fifth French Army. In this operation they are exposing their right flank and their 

29 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

warning that all troops should be ready to move at short notice 
after 8 p.m. Thus ended the first day of the advance. 

On the 7th September the advance was resumed in a north- 
easterly direction. The Lincolnshire paraded at 6 a.m., and 
being in support to the remainder of the Brigade, were ordered 
to " stand by " until 12.30 p.m. On all sides there were signs 
of the demoralization of the enemy. Empty wine bottles were 
everywhere, and the inhabitants reported much drunkenness 
amongst the German soldiery. The 3rd Division had been 
ordered to march on Chauffry. As the column passed Coulom- 
miers station, second reinforcements for the Lincolnshire joined 
the battalion. That night the battalion billeted in La Breton- 
niere in a factory and neighbouring houses. 

On the night of the 7th the British Expeditionary Force 
reached the line of the Grand Morin, roughly from Jouy to Crecy. 
On the 8th September, the 9th Brigade was again in reserve. 
At 6 a.m., the Lincolnshire left La Bretonniere, and at 11.30 
a.m., halted in a small village named Gibraltar, north of Rebais, 
where they took up a position overlooking the valley of the Petit 
Morin. Between the Grand and Petit Morin rivers the country 
was hilly and thickly wooded : the valley of the latter river being 
also well wooded and with steep slopes. The 9th Brigade halted 
whilst the 7th and 8 th Brigades cleared the enemy from the many 
hidden positions the valley afforded. 

At 4.45 p.m., the valley was reported clear of the enemy, and 
the advance continued. The Lincolnshire crossed the Petit 
Morin at Orly, and the enemy fired a parting shell, which fell 
some fifty yards from the battalion, doing no damage. 

At Orly the 9th Brigade moved to act as advance guard to 
the Division. The column climbed the slopes and continued its 
march almost due north. It reached Les Feucheres as darkness 
fell. Here, with the exception of the Lincolnshire, the 9th 
Brigade billeted. The former were detailed to form the outposts 
and companies were posted in the following positions westwards 
from the village of Villare : D Company on the right, C in the 
centre, and A on the left, B Company was in reserve with 
Battalion Headquarters in Les Feucheres. Patrols searched the 
woods which screened the crossings over the River Marne. 
D Company's patrols located the enemy at about eight hundred 
yards on their left front, but no shots were fired. 

line _ of communication to an attack from the combined Sixth French Army and the 
British Forces. 

"I call upon the British Army in France to now show the enemy its power and to' push 
in vigorously to the attack beside the Sixth French Army. I am sure I shall not call upon 
them in vain but that, on the contrary, by another manifestation of the magnificent spirit 
they have shown in the past fortnight, they will fall on the enemy's flank with all their 
strength and, in unison with their Allies, drive them back." 

3° 



BATTERY CAPTURED [sept. 9 th, x 9 r 4 

The 3rd Division crossed the Marne at Nanteuil, the 5th 
Division at Saacy, about a mile to the south-west. Before 9 a.m., 
the vanguards of both Divisions had established themselves on 
the heights of the northern bank. The 9th Brigade which, 
formed the advance guard of the 3rd Division, advanced without 
difficulty, and by 10.30 a.m., Brigadier General Shaw had estab- 
lished his headquarters at Bezu. 1 But the advance guard of the 
5th Division was opposed by heavy shell-fire from concealed 
batteries at various points. 

Whilst the 1st Lincolnshire was halted in a field near Bezu, 
Lieut.-Colonel Smith, commanding the battalion, received a 
message from the Brigade, informing him that " a German 
battery was doing serious damage by shelling our column ap- 
proaching the Marne," and telling him to try and capture it. 
The country north of the Marne is very hilly and wooded. In 
fact, the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division, " was swallowed up by 
the woods for more than an hour." {Official History ', Vol. I, 
pp. 289, 290.) 

Lieut.-Colonel Smith, with two companies, C and D, worked 
through the woods west of Bezu, crept up to within one hundred 
and fifty yards of the guns and shot down the German gunners, 
and their escort, almost to a man. Dashing out of the thicket 
to secure the guns, however, they were fired upon by the 65th 
(Howitzer) Battery, and compelled again to seek cover with a loss 
of four officers and some thirty men killed or wounded. 2 This 
unfortunate mistake arose from the 65th Battery believing that 
the German battery had been silenced by some other British 
artillery and that the men of the Lincolnshire were German 
gunners returning to their abandoned guns. 

The guns were removed by the 5th Divisional Ammunition 
Column next morning and removed to Coulommiers, whence 
they were despatched to England. One of the guns was for- 
merly to be seen at the Royal United Service Institution, but 
Was removed to the depot of the Regiment at Lincoln in 1928. 

The following is from a verbal description given to a friend 
by Captain Hoskyns, who commanded D Company. He was 
of exceptionally fine physique and a born leader of men. During 
the retreat from Mons he lost his forage cap and replaced it by 
a straw hat obtained in a French village, which made him very 
conspicuous. Captain Hoskyns was killed in action on the 25th 
September, 19 13". 

1 The British Expeditionary Force was now between the Marne, from La Ferte-sous- 
Jouarre to Chateau Thierry, and the left of von Kluck's army. The French Sixth 
Army was pressing its attack on von Kluck west of the River Ourcq. 

2 Captain and Adjutant Drake was killed. Captains Ellison, Hoskyns and Lieutenant 
Thruston wounded. 

3* 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

" ' Never have I had such big gun hunting. ■ We first started 

in file, not knowing if Germans were in the wood or not — we 

never knew when machine-guns would open on us unawares as 

we crossed the many side tracks in the wood. At last, after 

some time, we came to a broad ride and felt that here at least the 

Bosche must surely have someone, as the reports of his guns 

seemed quite close. A minute's anxiety as we pushed a few men 

across at intervals, and as no horrid " phut, phut " came, I got 

my Company over and formed them into line, C Company doing 

the same on my right, to beat through the wood. I went ahead 

with my Sub, Thruston — and as we got near to the further edge 

we went warily and silently, followed by our men, who had 

thoroughly entered into the spirit of our hunt. As Thruston 

and I got near to the edge we distinctly saw the German artillery 

in line, firing at right angles to our advance on their left, and 

nearest gun about one hundred and fifty yards from the wood, 

and to our horror, we also saw a few yards off a Bosche sentry 

looking in our direction. We stopped dead for what seemed an 

age, and then to our relief, he turned away and walked slowly off. 

Suddenly, however, he stopped again, and we saw that he thought 

all was not well as he looked in our direction. I now felt that 

the game was up and called to Thruston, who was carrying a 

rifle to ' down him.' No sooner said than the Bosche was shot 

and our men, who were level with us, opened fire on the German 

gunners : these, taken entirely by surprise, tried to turn their 

guns round on us, but long before this was done we had shot 

them down.' " This gallant little exploit cost the enemy a 

battery of field guns and a heavy casualty list. 

After being shelled by the 5th Divisional Artillery, the Lin- 
colnshire fell back through the wood and subsequently marched 
northwards for about three miles. 

At nightfall on the 9th September the line of the British 
Expeditionary Force extended from Chateau Thierry (exclusive) 
through Bezu and La Ferte-sous-Jouarre to Jouarre. The head 
of the 3rd Division (9th Brigade) remained with its head on the 
Chateau Thierry-Montreuil road from the morning onwards, as 
neither the I. Corps on its right nor the 5th Division on its left 
were coming up in line with it. 

As the First German Army appeared to be retreating in a 
north-easterly direction across the front of the British Expedi- 
tionary Force, Sir John French had hopes of intercepting it. At 
8.15 p.m. on the 9th, therefore, the British Commander-in-Chief 
issued orders for the pursuit to be continued at < a.m., on the 
10th. J 

The 9th Infantry Brigade, and 107th Battery, still the advance 
guard of the 3rd Division, crossed the River Clignon at Neuilly, 
32 



ADVANCE TO THE AISNE sept, izth, i 9 i 4 

striking in between the 6th Infantry Brigade, the advance guard 
of the 2nd Division on its right and Gough's Cavalry on its left, 
while the former was attacking from Hautavesnes a German 
convoy and its escort moving on the Chezy road, which resulted 
in the surrender of the survivors of the German force of about 
five hundred. The 9th Brigade took another six hundred 
prisoners, in which all divisions of von der Marwitz cavalry corps 
were represented. The 1st Lincolnshire were in support, search- 
ing the villages and surrounding fields and woods for stray 
Germans. 

They reached billets at Dammard at about 6 p.m. Here the 
9 th Brigade gradually assembled after a satisfactory day's work. 
The advance on 1 oth September was about ten miles and in the 
evening the four divisions of the I. and II. Corps were astride 
the River Allan d, the III. Corps at Vaux-sous-Colombs and 
southwards through Colombs to Chaton. 

On the nth the pursuit inclined north-east, the British 
Expeditionary Force between the boundaries Fere-en-Tardenois- 
Bazouches on the right and La Fertemilon-Longpont-Soissons 
on the left. 

The Lincolnshire left Dammard at 6 a.m., the 9th Brigade again 
marching at the head of the 3rd Division. Grand Rozoy was 
reached about midday, when the Brigade went into billets. The 
distance marched was roughly twelve miles, and at nightfall the 
2nd, 3rd and 5th Divisions (the heads of which were at Beugneux, 
Grand Rozoy and Hartennes respectively) had crossed the Ourcq, 
the 1st and 4th Divisions echeloned back on the right and left 
flanks. Cavalry were in front of the British Expeditionary 
Force, five miles from the Vesle River. 

G.H.Q. orders for the 12th were to continue the pursuit, to 
seize the crossing places over the Aisne, and secure the high 
ground north of the river. " The day was dark, with torrents 
of rain, which turned the roads into seas of mud," (Official 
History.) 

The 9th Infantry Brigade was again detailed as advanced 
guard of the 3rd Division, and the 1st Lincolnshire formed the 
vanguard. 

The battalion paraded at 5 a.m., and marched to a plateau 
overlooking the valley of the Vesle. The cavalry had already 
gone ahead to clear the front of the Division. As the Lincoln- 
shire reached the high ground a wonderful view opened out 
before them. It is thus described by Q.M.S. North : " The 
nature of the country was now entirely changed. The troops 
beheld before them a beautiful stretch of wooded country dotted 
with towns and villages and enriched with orchards and vine- 
yards. In the west, just beyond where two villages ran into 

n 33 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

each other, the high buildings of Soissons were visible amongst 
the trees, and straight in front, beyond the valley was a chain of 
picturesque hills at the foot of which ran the River Aisne. The 
whole landscape had the appearance of a vast richly-wooded park. 
British cavalry had gone ahead to reconnoitre the valley and a 
body of them was held up in the town of Braisne. Troops of 
various arms of the Service were assembled along the roads on die 
plateau including cavalry, artillery, infantry and bridging trains, 
and the Lincolnshire passed through them to the left of the valley 
and halted in pouring rain," Heavy rain had not only fallen 
when the advance began on the 12th, but on the nth the 
troops had been drenched through as they pushed on in pursuit 
of the enemy. 

At 10 a.m. 9th Brigade Headquarters received a message 
from General Allenby stating that his cavalry had secured the 
bridge at Braisne and found it intact, but the enemy was still 
holding the outskirts of the town. The Lincolnshire were 
therefore ordered to move to the right of the town and take the 
railway bridge half a mile to the east, then sweep north while the 
1 st Northumberland Fusiliers crossed the road bridge and moved 
round west of the town. 

Scouts and an advanced party from A Company of the 
Lincolnshire were sent forward to carry out the movement. 
Having searched the gardens and woods to the north of the road, 
the scouts joined the advanced party at the entrance of Braisne 
and reported all approaches clear of the enemy. The battalion 
then advanced and passing a barricade which had been erected 
by the enemy, entered the thickly-wooded grounds of the 
chateau on the right of the road. The chateau was thought to 
be full of Germans, but only two French liaison officers (who were 
first taken prisoner by two of the Lincolnshire who had not 
recognised the French uniform and were then released, having 
narrowly escaped being shot) were found in the chateau. Com- 
panies finally assembled in the main street. 

Every street in the town was searched and a few wounded 
Germans as well as a German machine gun and ammunition 
limber with horse were taken by the battalion 1 : also a German 
medical ofHcer and a few wounded Germans were found in a 
quarry : these were also made prisoner. 

The Lincolnshire then, in extended order, advanced beyond 
Braisne for a few miles and came to a large wood south-west of 
Brenelle, in which a few more prisoners were taken. Rain was 
still falling heavily while the battalion was rallying after searching 
the wood. All ranks then had to wait, drenched to the skin, 

1 This ammunition limber and horses were used by the Battalion as a mess cart for 
a long while and is now at Lincoln, at the depot. 

34 



THE AISNE [sept, izth, 1914 

until outposts had been established by one of the other units of 
the Brigade. They then marched off to billets in Brenelle, tired 
and worn out. There was little rest at night, for both officers 
and men were trying to dry their wet clothes. Supplies had not 
reached the Brigade, so the men were given permission to eat 
their iron rations. 

Nightfall on the 12th found the British Expeditionary Force 
across the Vesle and close to the River Aisne. But "when 
darkness fell on the 12th September not a single bridge over the 
Aisne was in British hands." 

Whether the enemy intended holding the northern bank of 
the Aisne, thus preventing the further Allied advance, remained 
to be seen. 



VII 

THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE, 1 9 1 4 

Operation Orders issued from General Headquarters on the 
evening of the 1 2th were to the effect that on the 1 3th the heads 
of the three British Corps would advance to the line, about five 
miles beyond the Aisne, Lierval-Chavignon. The objective of 
the British Army was the plateau between the valleys of the 
Aisne and Ailette rivers, traversed by the Chemin des Dames. 
The II. Corps with Gough's cavalry was to cross the Aisne 
at Vailly, Conde* and Missy. 

" The river (Aisne), winding and sluggish except when in 
flood and some 200 feet wide, is unfordable ; it runs through a 
valley which has steep sides covered with patches of wood, but 
with a gently sloping or level bottom from a mile to two miles 
in breadth and over three hundred feet below the level of the 
plateau through which the course of the stream has been cut." 
{Official History, Vol. I> p. 3 1*8.) 

Orders from 3rd Divisional Headquarters were received by 
the 9th Brigade at 5.15 a.m. on the 13th. The Division was 
to move on Chassemy with the 8th Brigade as advance guard : 
the 9th Brigade was to secure the high ground between Brenelle 
and Chassemy until the former Brigade had made good the latter 
village, when the 9 th Brigade was to follow. Further move- 
ments of the Division depended on the condition of the bridges 
over the Aisne. Later orders stated that the 9th Brigade was 
to cover the 8th Brigade from the ridge north-east of Chassemy 
as it crossed the river. 

35 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The morning of the 13th was still wet when the Lincolnshire 
paraded at 8 a.m., and shortly afterwards moved off with the 
Brigade. The advance to the Chassemy Ridge was difficult, for 
the enemy's long range howitzers, firing from the heights north- 
east of Vailly, had the range to perfection. But the ridge was 
occupied, the infantry battalions of the 9th Brigade sheltering 
in a road which ran east to west on the southern side. Here 
they waited for several hours. The 8th Brigade was checked 
about one and a half miles from the river by the fire of the 
German howitzers and could progress no further. The road 
bridge over the river at Vailly was broken, though the gap was 
spanned by a single plank which the enemy had omitted to 
remove after he had crossed ; the light railway bridge above 
Vailly had been destroyed. 

" In every case the road bridges over the river were found to 
have been destroyed, but not those over the canal which lies to 
the south of it." {Official History, Vol, /, p. 32,7.) 

About midday, the G.O.C., 3rd Division, Major-General 
Hubert Hamilton, made a personal reconnaissance of the bridges 
at Vailly and at 1 p.m. ordered the 8 th Brigade to advance. 
Although heavily shelled the Brigade dribbled men across the 
single plank, and by 4 p.m. the Royal Scots were in Vauxelles 
Chateau (one mile north-west of Vailly) and on the high ground 
north-west of it ; the remainder of the Brigade was in support 
at St. Pierre (just west of Vailly). 

The 9th Brigade did not begin to cross the river until darkness 
had fallen : it was near midnight before the Lincolnshire began 
their hazardous crossing. The advance was by sections, each 
section crossing first the bridge over the canal and then over the 
single plank spanning the gap in the broken bridge over the 
river in single file. A single false step to right or left would 
have meant certain death from drowning. Every now and then 
a bursting shell would throw the weird scene into prominence, 
but not a single man was hit, neither did anyone fall into the 
river. Progress was very slow, but once across the men had to 
double several hundred yards to where the battalion was' forming 
up in column of route facing west. When the last man had 
joined, the battalion marched off through the town of Vailly at 
a rapid pace and wheeled to the right up a narrow lane and then 
across a large tract of cultivated land on to a high ridge to the 
south-west of Rouge Maison Farm. On the top of the ridge 
the 4th Royal Fusiliers had established themselves, and D, B 
and A Companies of the Lincolnshire prolonged the line to the 
right in that order ; C Company formed a second line in echelon 
on the right. 

With their entrenching tools, supplemented by about forty 
36 



Irlii, AISNE [sept, 14.TH, 1914 

picks and shovels 1 the Battalion set to work to dig trenches. In 
pitch darkness and with rain falling steadily, patrols were sent 
out to the front from D and B Companies : A Company sending 
one to reconnoitre Rouge Maison Farm, another from C en- 
deavouring to gain touch with 2nd Division troops on the right. 

The ground in front of the battalion was fairly flat for about 
three hundred yards, when it dipped. Across the plateau and 
parallel with the trenches of the Lincolnshire was a road lined 
with telegraph poles which proved excellent range marks for the 
enemy's guns, which opened soon after daylight on the 14th. 

" Thus before dawn on the 14th a footing, albeit precarious, 
had been gained on the north bank of the Aisne at several points." 
{Official History -, Vol. I^p. 334.) 

Patrols from the battalion reported the enemy holding an 
outpost line at a point where the ground dipped, but Rouge 
Maison Farm was not occupied. The German infantry then 
attacked the Royal Fusiliers, the attack spreading gradually 
along the line. Soon the Lincolnshire were firing rapidly at the 
advancing enemy's troops, but many rifles were clogged with 
mud and rapid fire was difficult. Hostile machine-gun and rifle 
fire was heavy and from the right, firing from behind a wood, 
the enemy's artillery shelled the battalion in enfilade. C Com- 
pany's patrol which had gone to gain touch with the 2nd 
Division returned with the information that the latter could not 
be found, the intervening wood being full of Germans. At 
nightfall on the 13 th there had been a gap of five miles 
between the left of the 2nd Division and the right of the 9th 
Infantry Brigade (Lincolnshire), which on the morning of the 
14th had not apparently been filled. 2 (Official History, VoL /, 

PP- 335 and 349-) 

Throughout the morning of the 14th the enemy continued the 

attack, wave after wave advancing against the Lincolnshire and 

troops on the left of the battalion. But all these attacks were 

broken up and very heavy casualties must have been suffered by 

the Germans. Compelled to remain on the southern bank of 

the Aisne until bridges across could be constructed, the British 

artillery could render very little support to the hard-pressed 

infantry. The Royal Fusiliers appealed to the Lincolnshire for 

support and D and B Companies of the latter made a spirited 

counter-attack which drove the enemy back to his starting point. 

The casualties of these two companies were heavy, including the 

1 Lieutenant Cave-Orme, with a platoon from A Company, fetched as many picks and 
shovels as his men could carry from the battalion transport, -which could not cross the 
river, returning to the battalion soon after midnight I3th-X4th. 

2 The left of the and Division, at about 2 p.m. on the 14th, extended frorn La Cour 
de Soupir, south-west towards Chavonne, which is about two and half miles from 
Vailly. 

37 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Officer Commanding B Company, Captain Dawson. But now 
the enemy's attack developed on the right. He succeeded in 
bringing up some machine guns into Rouge Maison Farm. 
With these guns he poured a heavy fire into A and C Com- 
panies of the Lincolnshire and at the same time German 
infantry debouched from the wood on the right of the battalion. 
The latter, caught between two fires suffered severe losses, the 
Officer Commanding A ' Company, Captain Greatwood, being 
among the wounded. A message was sent back to Brigade 
Headquarters asking for support. Two companies of the 
Royal Scots Fusiliers sent up on the right were enfiladed by 
machine guns and driven back with heavy loss. {Official History \ 
Vol. I, p. 351.) An order was signalled from the rear for the 
Lincolnshire to retire by platoons beginning from the right. 

No sooner had the retirement begun than the enemy rushed 
a machine gun into a wheat stack not more than fifty yards away, 
whilst his infantry swarmed on to the ridge, which bent round the 
flank, and opened a destructive fire as the Lincolnshire fell back 
across the greasy beet field. At the bottom of the ravine Colonel 
Smith rallied the troops, amongst whom were some Royal Scots 
Fusiliers, and then, as Vailly offered no defensive position, he 
moved back across the river to a railway cutting on the opposite 
side. So, over the railway bridge (now partially repaired and 
having planks placed across the gaps), the Lincolnshire retired 
to the cutting. But here further casualties were' suffered from 
the enemy's shell-fire, including the Commanding Officer, 
Lieut.-Colonel Smith and the Adjutant, Lieutenant Hutchinson, 
though both gallantly continued to carry on. 

After three hours in the cutting, the Lincolnshire again crossed 
the river and took cover in a wood about two hundred yards 
beyond it. Here, for several hours they sheltered behind a 
bank and after darkness had fallen moved into Vailly, where the 
men were permitted to lie down and get what sleep they could. 
The losses of the Lincolnshire during the fighting on the 
14th September were eight officers (including the Battalion 
M.O.) killed or wounded, and one hundred and eighty other 
ranks. 1 

Just before daybreak on the 1 5th the battalion, with the Royal 
Scots Fusiliers (both weak in numbers), moved out from Vailly 
in order to support the 4th Royal Fusiliers and 1st Northumber- 
land Fusiliers. The latter battalions were holding a ridge about 
a mile north of Vailly, a winding, sunken road leading up from 

1 Captain H.E. Dawson, Lieutenant A.W. Peddie and four other ranks killed. Lieut.- 
Colonel W.E.B. Smith, Captain F.W. Greatwood, 2nd Lieutenants C. Hutchinson and 
H.L. Trist, and one hundred and two other ranks wounded. Captain G.A.K. Kemp- 
thorne, R.A.M.C. (M.O.) and and Lieutenant Wyatt wounded and missing-, and seventy- 
four other ranks missing, most of whom were probably killed. 

38 



THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE [sept. i 5 th, i 9 i 4 

the town to and over the ridge. On the right side of this road 
was a rather high bank well covered with tall trees and bushes : 
the bank on the left side of the road was neither as high nor as 
well protected. Into this roadway cutting the Lincolnshire and 
Royal Scots Fusiliers moved, in which position they were in 
support to the Royal Fusiliers, who were astride the road on the 
top, and the Northumberland Fusiliers who were on the left. 

Here throughout the 1 5th (the last day of the Aisne battle) 
the Lincolnshire remained, digging themselves into the bank and 
making themselves as comfortable as possible, so far as the 
incessant shelling to which the road was exposed permitted. 
Battalion Headquarters were established in a small cottage on 
the right of the road until it was demolished the next day by 
German shells. 



39 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



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AUGUST 



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Map to show the daily marches 
of the ist Battalion, Lincolnshire 
Regiment,, during the Retreat from 
Mons, and the subsequent Advance 
to^thfcs^isne, from the 2, 3rd August 
to the iath September, 19 14. 



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Mi les 



PART TWO 

TRENCH WARFARE, REINFORCEMENTS, 

AND 
THE BATTLES OF 1914 



TRENCH WARFARE [KPTl , I9H 

I 

THE BEGINNING OF TRENCH WARFARE 

THE small cottage by the roadside in which Battalion 
Headquarters had been established was destroyed by 
shell-fire on the 16th, and from that date all ranks lived 
in holes in the ground ; hardly good enough to be called dug- 
outs, such as were used later in the war. No fires or lights were 
permitted, nor were the men able to do any cooking. Tea was 
sometimes made in the town and rations were fetched over the 
river at night by ration parties. For a while orchards and vine- 
yards, which lay close to the roadside, provided plenty of fruit. 
Showery weather set in and the nights were now very cold. 
Occasionally there were spells of Warm sunshine when the men 
would emerge from their dug-outs and bask in the sun, scuttling 
back when the enemy's artillery opened fire. Without over- 
coats and blankets, and only a few waterproof sheets, it was 
wonderful how all ranks endured the cold and wet as they did 
without serious casualties. 

There was little real rest in the front line trenches even at 
night, for during the hours of darkness the battalion stood to 
arms once or twice, and always at daybreak. Moreover, 
whenever the enemy's infantry opened a fusilade of rifle-fire, 
everyone had to be on the alert, and this happened frequently 
throughout the day and often at night. 

At this period the hostile artillery was superior both in number 
of guns and calibre to that of the British. The Germans in 
pre-war days had foreseen a siege war, i.e., a possible war against 
forts or entrenched positions, and had provided their army with 
howitzers (high-angle guns)of all calibres, the 8-in. howitzer being 
largely used. This gun fired a shell which gave off black smoke 
and was nicknamed " Jack Johnson " and made a crater fifteen 
to twenty feet across and about ten feet deep. To these guns 
the British had little with which to reply until on the 23rd 
September, a number of old pattern 6-in. howitzers arrived from 
England, but these were, of course, far inferior to the enemy's 
8-in. howitzers. A small high-velocity gun used by the enemy 
was very accurate and caused many casualties. It fired a small 
shell (" whizz-bang "), the report of discharge and burst being 
practically simultaneous. 

Practically all the British positions north and south of the 
Aisne were under fire from the enemy's guns ; the battalion 
transport vehicles, for instance, were parked south of the river 
at Chassemy and came in for their share of shell-fire. On one 
occasion when the horses had been hooked in, and shells fell in 

43 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the neighbourhood, it was only by standing to the horses and 
holding on to them that Lance-Corporal York succeeded in 
preventing a stampede, for ■which gallant action he was awarded 
the D.C.M. 

The night of the 20 /21st was eventful. The battalion held 
some trenches, taken over from the Royal Fusiliers very close 
to the German trenches. During the night, under cover of a 
continuous fusilade of rifle-fire, the enemy commenced digging 
what appeared to be pits for field guns in front of their line, 
suggesting an imminent attack. Our rapid fire, mainly directed 
on the diggers, dimly discerned in the moonlight, seemed to have 
frustrated the intention of the enemy as no attack materialised 
and several German dead were seen in front of their lines when 
day broke. 

The Lincolnshire were relieved by the 2nd York and Lancaster 
on the 2 1st in broad daylight without interference by the enemy, 
which was surprising. The battalion marched away down the 
sunken road and took cover in a large quarry until sunset. 
After dark companies in single file crossed the Aisne and took 
the road to Braisne. The enemy seems to have been aware of 
their withdrawal for he shelled the bridge and the river and 
several casualties were suffered. 

Along the road to Braisne the Lincolnshire passed two more 
battalions of the 1 6th Brigade moving up to relieve the remainder 
of the 9th Brigade, which had been ordered to withdraw for 
refitting and a well-earned rest at Courcelles, a small village 
about two miles east of Braisne and some five miles south of the 
Aisne. Reinforcements under Lieutenant Dove joined the 
battalion about the 20th and at Courcelles, some days later, 
another draft under Captain R.H. Spooner. 

The battalion arrived in billets about 1 1 o'clock at night very 
tired and very dirty. This was the first occasion all ranks had 
been definitely relieved from duty in the front line or in support, 
after the crossing of the Aisne. Since the arrival in France, the 
advance to Mons and the Retreat, no opportunity for a good clean 
up and attention to clothing and equipment had been possible. 
The battalion came out of the trenches, therefore, deficient in 
many articles ; their clothes in a terrible condition from constant 
soakings and contact with mud, their boots in holes and anything 
but watertight, resembling very little the smart battalion which 
left Portsmouth in August. 

Those few days at Courcelles, however, worked wonders and 
although the advance depots were unable to replace all clothing 
and equipment required (many of the men were still minus pack 
and overcoats and no blankets were issued), when the battalion 
went back to the trenches on the 25th all ranks were rested and 
44 



TRENCH WARFARE [SEPT ., x 9H 

well fed and ready for any fighting or hard living which might 
fall to their lot. 

The trenches taken over by the Lincolnshire from the ist 
Royal Scots (8 th Brigade) on the night of 25th September were 
on a ridge nearly a mile to the left of their old trenches. The 
battalion arrived on the southern slope of the hill at about 9 p.m., 
and occupied some shallow dug-outs after a platoon from each 
company had been sent to the firing line over the "brow of the 
hill. These trenches, which were not continuous, but in short 
lengths, were only occupied during the night time, the troops 
being withdrawn before dawn, leaving piquets behind hidden 
amongst trees or in gullies. Instead of a plateau, there was, in 
front of the battalion a deep valley, the sides of which were 
broken up by ravines filled with bushes. It was necessary to guard 
against surprise by piqueting these. Patrols also reconnoitred 
the valley and a deserted village which was hidden amongst the 
trees. About a dozen marksmen were selected, and employed 
as sharpshooters and did excellent work. They were posted 
near Battalion Headquarters, and some were always on the 
look-out during daylight, and any movement of German scouts 
or snipers was promptly dealt with. 

The 26th was characterised by slight shelling in the morning 
which greatly increased during the afternoon, but only three 
men were wounded. The battalion snipers had a few shots on 
this day at a group of Germans about seven hundred and fifty 
yards away and two of the enemy fell. On the 27th the Germans 
first used hand-grenades, though there are no records of their 
use against the Lincolnshire. On this date also A Company 
was sent to relieve a company of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on 
the right. The 28 th again witnessed slight shelling during the 
morning, increasing as the day wore on. At about 6 p.m., two 
shells from what was obviously a new heavy howitzer fell, one 
in front and the other in the rear of the trenches and burst with 
terrific force. These were apparently ranging shots, for they 
were followed by twelve others traversing along the whole line 
but to the amazement and gratification of the men, none of them 
exploded. Three more men were wounded on the 28 th. 

The next day (29th) the battalion had its first experience of 
bomb-dropping from the air, but the bombs fell very wide of 
their mark and exploded harmlessly in the valley in No Man's 
Land. " No firing at all. No casualties," is the record for 30th 
September. On the ist October rumours were afloat that the 
battalion was to be relieved the following day and moved from 
the Aisne. In these days very little news filtered through as to 
what was happening outside any particular area. 

At night orders were received for the relief of the battalion 

45 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

by the Shropshire Light Infantry, who were to take over the line 
held by the Lincolnshire on the 2nd October. At 7 p.m. on 
that date the battalion marched out of Vailly and re-crossed the 
Aisne for the last time. Crossing over the now well-battered 
bridge which led to the Chassemy road, the battalion set out 
for Braisne. The road was dotted with shell holes filled with 
water (for rain had fallen), into which more than one man slipped. 
At Braisne the expected orders were received. They directed 
the battalion to march to Servenay, the 9th Brigade having been 
ordered to march to the area Servenay-Cramaille-Grandiselle. 

Throughout the whole- of the night of the 2nd /3rd the bat- 
talion with Brigade Headquarters and the Royal Fusiliers, 
marched on their destination, passing through the villages of 
Cerceuil, Gory, Housse and Arcy. At about 3.30 a.m. on 
the latter date, after having marched some twenty miles, the 
Lincolnshire reached Servenay and were billeted in the barns 
of a large farm. The Northumberland Fusiliers and Royal 
Scots Fusiliers, who had previously arrived in Augy, also moved 
to the Brigade area. 

The inward meaning of the withdrawal of the 9 th Brigade 
from the Aisne was the transfer of the British Expeditionary 
Force to' the Bethune-Ypres area, for from the third week in 
September the left flank of the Allies and the right flank of the 
German Armies were engaged in what is now known as " the 
race to the coast." 

Meanwhile Sir John French suggested to General Joffre that 
the appropriate strategic position of the British Expeditionary 
Force was on the left of the Allied line. To this the French 
Commander-in-Chief agreed and arrangements were made to 
withdraw the British Army from the Aisne. 

Meanwhile the 1st Lincolnshire, marching by night to conceal 
their movements from hostile aircraft, had with other units of 
the 9th Brigade, left Servenay on the 3rd October at 5.45 p.m. 
for Troesnes — an eighteen-mile march. They marched again 
on the night of the 4th for Crepy-en-Valois (twenty-two miles). 
The march to Crepy-en-Valois was a long and particularly trying 
one, but the men " stuck it " most pluckily, and the whole bat- 
talion reached its billets in Crepy complete. On the night of the 
5th they marched to Rhuis, whence, after a halt of two and a 
half hours the battalion marched to La Croix St. Ouen, which 
was reached at dawn on the 6th. Here the Lincolnshire en- 
trained for Abbeville. The battalion received welcome assist- 
ance in detraining at Abbeville from the London Scottish, who 
had recently arrived from England. 

The Battalion Diary has the following interesting note : 
" The men were in a very exhausted condition. Seventeen days 
46 



REINFORCEMENTS [19H-1915 

in the wet and mud of the trenches with no time to take off their 
clothing and only one day on which they could take their boots 
off had made their feet in a very bad state. Following this were 
three forced marches. These abnormal conditions accounted for 
their exhaustion. After a four hours wait, during which the 
men were able to cook and make hot tea, the Battalion entrained 
and proceeded via Amiens to Longprd, where we arrived about 
8 p.m. (6th), and halted there till 1 1 a.m. on the following day, 
when we went on to Abbeville, where we detrained." 

The Lincolnshire then marched to Buigny and billeted in 
farm buildings, where for the time being the battalion may be 
left enjoying a short but well-earned rest. 



II 

THE MOBILISATION OF THE 3RD (RESERVE) BATTALION, THE 
TERRITORIALS, AND RAISING OF THE SERVICE BATTALIONS OF THE 

REGIMENT 

The task of training and despatching drafts to the battalions 
serving overseas of the regular and new armies, to replace the 
wastage of war, devolved on the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the 
Regiment, formerly militia, commanded by Lieut-. Colonel 
W.V.R. Fane. The battalion was stationed at Grimsby, its 
war station, from August 19 14 to November 19 17.. Whilst 
at Grimsby it shared with the 3rd and 4th Battalions Manchester 
Regiment the duty of guarding the coast defences on the south 
side of the Humber, and furnished detachments from time to 
time at Killingholme Oil Tanks, Immingham Docks and Waltham 
Wireless Station. 

The Wireless Station was frequently the object of attack by 
German aeroplanes, but escaped injury. A number of the 3rd 
Battalion Manchester Regiment, however, billeted in a school 
at Cleethorpes were killed by bombs. 

In November 1 9 1 7 it was decided, in consequence of conditions 
obtaining in Ireland, to replace Irish Special Reserve battalions 
serving there by English, Welsh and Scotch battalions, and the 
3rd Lincolnshire moved to Cork, where it was quartered in 
Victoria Barracks, with a battalion of the King's Liverpool 
Regiment, and one of the Welsh Fusiliers. 

In February 19 18 the 3rd Lincolnshire sent a detachment of 
twenty-eight officers and four hundred and twenty other ranks 
to Tulla, in Co. Clare, where the Sinn Feiners were setting law 
and order at defiance. The detachment was recalled to Cork 
on the news of the German offensive of the 21st March, and soon 

47 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

afterwards the battalion sent a draft of every available man to 
replace casualties. 

The work both at Grimsby and Cork was difficult and com- 
plicated ; in the early days of the war, officers and men remained 
long enough with the Battalion to be fairly well trained, and to 
acquire some feeling of esprit de corps. But as the war pro- 
gressed, and the number of battalions at the front as well as the 
casualties increased, the training of officers and men had to be 
perpetually hastened and intensified, and when time permitted 
training at home was supplemented by training at base camps 
at Etaples and elsewhere in France, before sending the drafts 
to the front line. 

Captain M.G.H. Barker (Colonel Barker, D.S.O., A.A. and 
Q.M.G., Eastern Command) was Adjutant of the Battalion for 
the first five months ; he was succeeded by Captain E. James 
(Lieut.-Colonel James, D.S.O., M.C., E. Lanes. Regt), and he 
by Captain H. Disbrowe, invalided from France. Captain and 
Quartermaster T, Hammond served with the Battalion through- 
out the war. 

The following figures for 1 9 1 4 and 1 9 1 5 are of interest. The 
3rd Battalion sent to the 1st to replace casualties in 19 14, in less 
than five months' fighting, 1,336 men. In 19 15 the 2nd, 6th, 
8 th and 7th needed reinforcements, as well as 1st Battalion, and 
the numbers sent out during the year were : — 







To replace casualties. 


1st Battalion 


.. 1,430 . 


. at Ypres, first attack Bellewaarde. 


2nd „ 


.. 1,100 . 


. at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers and Bois Grenier 


6th 


.. 1,082 . 


. at Gallipoli. 


8th 


4.61 . 


. At Loos. 


7th 


59 • 


. Early days in the trenches. 



Total ... 4,132 



No " conscientious objector " came to the 3rd Battalion from 
Lincolnshire ; but three men from another county gave a good 
deal of trouble in this connection. After a time more than half 
the men posted to the battalion were men from the Expeditionary 
Force, sent home on account of wounds or sickness, and some of 
these returned to the front with three or four wound stripes. 

Whilst the 1st Battalion of the Regiment was engaged with 
the enemy in Flanders and in France, the Territorial battalions 
were in training. 

On the 25th of July, 19 14, the 4 th (Lieut.-Colonel J.W. 
Jessop) and 5th (Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall) Battalions 1 (T) 

/The 4th and 5th (T) Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment formed part of the 
Lincoln and Leicester Infantry Brigade of the North Midland (T.F.) Division. They 
were brigaded with the 4th and 5th Battalions Leicestershire Regiment. The Division 
was subsequently numbered the 46th, and the Brigade the 138th. 

48 



TERRITORIAL BATTALIONS bm 

assembled at Bridlington for their usual annual training, but on 
the 2nd of August, received orders to return to their Head- 
quarters on the 3rd. By the afternoon of the 4th both battalions 
had returned to their respective Headquarters and been dismissed 
with orders to hold themselves in readiness to assemble at their 
Drill Halls on receipt of the hourly expected orders to mobilise. 
These came during the evening. The 5th, the first day of 
mobilisation, was one of great excitement and activity. At that 
early period only five Territorial battalions had signed the General 
Service obligation " to serve overseas if required in time of 
national danger," but on the declaration of war it was not long 
before the majority of Territorial units throughout the country 
volunteered for service overseas whenever they were required. 

The first duties which fell to the lot of the Lincolnshire 
Territorials were to guard Grimsby Docks and Harbour, to 
protect the electric power station, wireless station at Weelsby 
and the construction of defences at the mouth of the Humber. 

On the 10th of August, both battalions reported mobilisation 
complete and the following day they entrained for Belper, the 
War Station of the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire Brigade. 
For the next few days training consisted chiefly of route marching 
with full equipment. On the 15th, however, a move was made 
to Luton, which for several months was the home of the North 
Midland Division, the Lincolnshire being billeted in the town. 

The 1 /4th and 1 /5th Lincolnshire were eventually postedto 
the 138th Brigade, 46th Division, and went to France with 
that formation in February 1915. 

On the 15th of September, 19 14, the Government called on 
the Territorials to volunteer for foreign service, and practically 
all battalions throughout the country answered the call, though 
for various reasons not all ranks could undertake overseas obliga- 
tions. Units of which not less than sixty per cent, volunteered 
were designated " General Service," and were ordered to recruit 
up to establishment and twenty-five per cent, beyond it. As 
soon as units had obtained a sufficiently high percentage of 
volunteers for service overseas, a second unit of similar strength 
was formed : the latter were termed " Second Line " units ; 
Later, " Third Line " units were formed. The original Territorial 
battalions then became known as the First Line units. Thus 
the 4 th and 5th Lincolnshire became the i/4th and 1 /5th 
Battalions. 

The 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire were formed at Luton in 
January 19 15, and became part of the 177th Brigade of the 59th 
Division. The men for these two battalions were taken from 
a Provisional Battalion organised at Dunstable in September 1 914 
of drafts of men from Lincoln, Grimsby and Leicester. The 
e 49 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Leicester men formed the two Leicester battalions of the 177th 
Brigade. 

After service in Ireland in 19 16 the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincoln- 
shire went to France with the 59th Division in February 1 9 1 7. 

The 3 /4th and 3 /5th were organised in April 1915 and in 
October 19 16 were amalgamated under Colonel Hart. These 
battalions did not serve oversea. 

There was also a Provisional Battalion, known as the 28 th, 
later designated the 13 th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, and 
classified as a Territorial battalion, but of this unit no details 
are available. 

Meanwhile, on the 5th of August 19 14, the House of 
Commons authorised an increase of the Regular Army by 
500,000 men, and on the 7th the Secretary of State for War 
(Lord Kitchener) announced by means of posters and the press 
the immediate call to arms of 100,000 recruits to form the first 
New Army of six divisions. 1 

The 6th was the first of the Service Battalions (as the New 
Army battalions were called) of the Lincolnshire Regiment to be 
raised. As early as the 8 th of August Captain Elkington and 
Lieutenant and Quartermaster P.H. Jones, two regular 
officers of the Regiment, arrived at Belton Park, near Grantham, 
to make preparations for receiving recruits from the depot at 
Lincoln, where large numbers were enlisting. By the end of 
the month four companies were formed and the original nucleus 
of a few regular soldiers had expanded to a battalion with Lieut.- 
Colonel M.P. Phelps in command. 

The 6th Lincolnshire 2 were quartered in Belton Park, just 
outside Grantham. The early days of the battalion were not 
easy, as the men had only their civilian clothes, they had no rifles, 
and target practice had to be carried out with air guns on a 
miniature range. These disadvantages were, however, taken in 
good spirit, for all ranks were full of enthusiasm. 

On the nth of September the Government issued orders for 
the raising of a Second New Army (K.I I), also of six divisions, 
i.e., 15th, 1 6th, 17th, 1 8th, 19th and 20th, and the 7th (Service) 
Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment came into being. 

The 7th Lincolnshire were raised at Lincoln, joined the 17th 
Division, and were posted to the 5 1 st Infantry Brigade. Lieut.- 
Colonel J. Forrest (who took the battalion to France in July 
19 15) said : "I reported at Wool, Dorsetshire, about 20th 
September, 19 14, and took over about eight hundred n.c.o.'s 
and men from Gardner 3 , who arrived that same morning from 

1 " K.i " consisted of the 9th, 10th, nth, 12th, 13th and 14th Divisions. 

2 The 6th Lincolnshire formed part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade, nth Division : they 
were brigaded with the 6th Border Regiment, 7th South Staffbrds and 9th Notts and Derby. 

3 A former officer of the Regiment. 

SO 



SERVICE BATTALIONS [l9I4 

Lincoln. I was in charge of the 7th battalion until Colonel Reid, 
late Highland Light Infantry, arrived some weeks later to take 
command. I was later on duly appointed second-in-command, 
and in March 1 9 1 5 was given command and took the battalion 
to France on the 14th of July, 19 15." 

The raising of jet another New Army — the Third — con- 
sisting of the 2,1st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th Divisions 
was ordered on the 13th of September, and the 8th Lincolnshire 
were formed as part of the 63rd Brigade, 21st Division. The 
first Commanding Officer was Lieut.-Colonel E.B. Wilkinson 
(formerly a Lincolnshire regimental officer and sometime Ad- 
jutant of the 1st Battalion). The newly-formed battalion con- 
centrated in Halton Park, near Tring, and like other Service 
Battalions, presented at first a motley appearance until uniforms, 
equipment and boots were issued. The winter of 19 14 was 
spent in billets at Leighton Buzzard, but in the spring of 1 9 1 5 
a move was made first back to Halton Park and later to Witley 
Camp. On the 10th of September, 19 15, the battalion en- 
trained for Folkestone and crossed over to Boulogne, under the 
command of Lieut.-Colonel H.E. Walter, 1 Colonel Wilkinson, 
having been appointed to command the 62nd Brigade. 

The raising of the 1 oth Service Battalion shows well the spirit 
of the County. In August 1914a few old boys of the Wintring- 
ham Secondary School at Grimsby approached their late Head- 
master, Captain Stream, with a suggestion that he should form 
' a company of infantry from the old boys of the School. Captain 
Stream willingly agreed and called a meeting of old boys at the 
School on the 1 st of September. At the meeting the formation 
of the suggested company was enthusiastically decided on : the 
company was to offer its services to the^th Territorial Battalion. 
Fifty-two old boys volunteered that evening and drills began 
next morning. Captain Stream, who commanded the School 
O.T.C., placed the Armoury and organisation of the Corps at 
the disposal of the new company, being assisted by Lieutenant 
A.W.S Pratte, O.T.C., and several ex-n.c.o.'s. The 
" Chums " (as they immediately styled themselves) grew rapidly 
in numbers and at the end of the first week of training were over 
two hundred strong. They then offered their services to the 
O.C., 5th Lincolnshire, but great was their disappointment when 
they were informed that that battalion was already at full 
strength. 

Captain Stream then interviewed Alderman Tate, the Mayor 
of Grimsby, and that patriotic gentleman, who with his colleagues 
on the Recruiting Committee had determined that Grimsby 
should not be behind in showing its patriotism, approached the 

1 Lieut.-Colonel Walter had also served as Adjutant to the rst Battalion. 

51 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

War Office through the Northern Command at York, with a 
request for permission to form a complete battalion from the 
Borough of Grimsby. 

The " Chums " formed the nucleus of the Town's Battalion, 
which afterwards was designated the ioth (Service) Battalion of 
the Lincolnshire Regiment. The old boys of Wintringham were 
joined by old boys from Humberstone Grammar School, St. 
James' Choir School, Louth Grammar School and Worksop 
College : a number of bank clerks, civil servants and young 
business men from Grimsby also swelled the ranks of the 
battalion, which by the end of October had a strength of about 
one thousand all ranks. Major G. C. Bennett was the first 
commanding officer, but was succeeded in October by Lieut.- 
Colonel the Hon. G.E. Heneage (now Lord Heneage). 

On the 4th of December the battalion moved to Brocklesby 
Farm, and in June 191 5 to Studley Royal, near Ripon. The 
ioth Lincolnshire now formed part of the 101st Infantry Brigade 
of the 34th Division. After three months hard training on the 
Yorkshire Moors the battalion moved first to Strensall, then to 
Perham Down, to a canvas camp, until the end of September, 
when, as the 34th Division was assembling at Sutton Veny, the 
Lincolnshire moved to that place. At Sutton Veny the battalion 
completed its training and embarked for France on the 4th of 
January 19 16. 

There were two other Service Battalions, i.e., the 9th and nth, 
but neither of these saw service overseas, being kept in the United 
Kingdom for the purpose of training and supplying drafts for 
the battalions overseas. 

Three more battalions must be mentioned to complete the 
contribution of Lincolnshire to the war, viz. : the 12th (Labour) 
Battalion ; there were also Labour Companies and the 1st and 
2nd Garrison Battalions. The 12th (Labour) Battalion and the 
Labour Companies served in France and Flanders and had 
casualties. The 1st Garrison Battalion served in India, for 
guard duties, and the 2nd in the United Kingdom. Both the 
Labour Battalion, and Companies and the Garrison Battalions 
were composed largely of old soldiers who formerly served in the 
regular army, in many different regiments, but very few, if any, 
judging from the list of casualties and deaths, in the Lincolnshire 
Regiment. 

The history of the Lincolnshire Regiment in the Great War 
would not be complete without reference to a contingent of the 
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, which was attached to the 1st 
Battalion and served with it from June 1 9 1 5 to the end. It will 
be remembered that the 2nd Battalion was quartered in Bermuda 
when war broke out* When the local volunteer Rifle Corps 
52 



BERMUDA CONTINGENT [l915 

volunteered for service, application was made that it might be 
attached to the Lincolnshire Regiment. 

The i st Bermuda contingent consisted of one officer, Captain 
R.J. Tucker, V.D., and eighty-nine other ranks, and joined the 
i st Battalion in June 19 15. The 2nd contingent, Lieutenant 
Trimmingham, and thirty-six other ranks, all trained machine 
gunners, joined in September. These contingents lost forty 
other ranks killed or died of wounds, whose names are recorded 
in the " Roll of Honour " of the Lincolnshire Regiment which 
is deposited in Lincoln Cathedral. Their casualties, in killed 
and wounded, were over seventy-five per cent, of their strength. 
Major Tucker was promoted and awarded the O.B.E. The 
present Commanding Officer (1930), Major R.C. Earl, was a 
Colour Sergeant in the 1st contingent, and recommended for a 
commission for work in the field. Others were also promoted 
to commissions. Amongst those who specially distinguished 
themselves were Corporals Noble, Churm, Maderiot, Ingham 
and Marshall. 

The contingents left France in March, 1 9 1 5, and returned to 
Bermuda in May 1919. 

The connection of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps with 
the Lincolnshire Regiment has, since the War, been made per- 
manent, as it now, with the sanction of His Majesty the King, 
appears in the Army List as an " Allied Regiment." 



Ill 

THE BATTLES OF LA BASSEE, ARMENTIERES, AND MESSINES, I9I4 : 
IOTH OCTOBER— 2ND NOVEMBER 

The II. Corps (Smith-Dorrien's) was due to arrive on the 
line of the Aire-La Bassee Canal on the nth October, covered 
on its left by the Cavalry Corps and in touch on the right with 
the Tenth French Army 1 : the III. Corps was to come into line 
on the left of the II. 

On the 10th a conference took place between Sir John French 
and General Foch, at which it was agreed that a combined advance 
eastwards should be made by the French and British troops in 
the north, the latter passing north of Lille. 2 The intention of 
the Allies was to make another attempt to turn the right flank of 
the German Armies. 

Early on the ioth October the II. Corps continued _ its 
movement to the Aire-La Bassee Canal. The ist Lincolnshire, 

1 The left of the Tenth French Army was at Vermelks, south of the La Bassee Canal. 

2 On the ioth October there was still a garrison of 4,000 French troops in Lille. 

53 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

marching with other units of the Brigade, halted at 3 a.m. near 
Hesdin. At 9 a.m. a fleet of French motor-buses and lorries 
arrived, which carried the Brigade to Sains les Pernes and 
Sachin, where the troops billeted. 

At 8 a.m. on the nth the Battalion left Sachin and again 
marching in a north-easterly direction, reached Busnes, just 
south of the Aire-La Bassee Canal, where the Brigade billeted. 




THE BETHUNE-YPRES AREA 

{See ante page 46) 

The battalion left Busnes at 6 a.m. on the 12th, and after 
marching along the southern bank of the Aire Canal for about two 
miles, crossed by a bridge, and by way of water-logged lanes 
arrived within a short distance of Vieille Chapelle where a halt was 
called. The 7th and 8th Brigades were then driving back the 
enemy, whose infantry clung to every hedge, lane and ditch 
which afforded cover. The 9 th Brigade was in reserve. 

La Vieille, less than half-a-mile away, was being shelled by 
the enemy, the church tower being the target which attracted 
the German artillery. The low-lying country of the Lys valley 
afforded few artillery observation posts, so that every high build- 
ing was used by the opposing forces for observing purposes. The 
battalion watched shell after shell explode around the church, 
until finally the whole structure was in a blaze : at dusk the 

54 



LA BASSEE [oct, 1914. 

Lincolnshire were ordered to billets, but on the way received 
orders to reinforce the 7th Brigade. They then moved in a 
south-easterly direction, passing through Lacouture and taking 
up a defensive position on the south-west side of the road leading 
to Richebourg-St.Waast, with the 7th Brigade in front holding 
the valley about the Estaires-La Bassee road : the 8th Brigade 
was on the left of the 7th. On the right of the 3rd Division, 
the 5th Division were astride the La Bassee Canal. 

Vastly different from the hills and valleys on the Aisne was 
the country in which the II. Corps was now operating. The 
low-lying country of the Lys was flat and intersected with dykes 
and ditches. Occasionally there was a rise in the ground for a 
few feet, and about ten miles east of Bethune there was a low 
ridge extending from between Armentieres and Lille to within 
a few miles of La Bassee, which in time became known as the 
Aubers Ridge, otherwise the terrain was uninteresting and 
dismal : bogs, streams, thick hedgerows, pollard willows along 
the edge of waterways, dank and muddy roads, here and there 
farms and buildings — such was the Lys Valley when the opera- 
tions against the enemy began in October 19 14. And as 
trenches were dug, the countryside churned up by artillery fire 
and pock-marked by shell holes, and the roads became broken 
by transport and traffic, desolation began to spread its grim hand 
over a once peaceful country. But as yet the miseries of that first 
winter in the trenches were mercifully hidden from our troops. 

Heavy rain fell during the night 12th /13th October and in a 
thin drizzle the Lincolnshire advanced to support the 7th Brigade. 
Their way lay through Richebourg-St. Waast, where a broad 
stream, bridged only by a single plank, had to be crossed. 
The battalion was now within range of the enemy's rifle fire, 
while all around shells were bursting for the German artillery 
was subjecting the line of the 7th Brigade to persistent and heavy 
shelling. Four men, the first casualties suffered by the battalion 
since the transfer of the British Expeditionary Force from the 
Aisne, were wounded on this day. Having crossed the stream, 
the Lincolnshire lay down and awaited further orders, as there 
was no room for them in the firing line. All day long, in the 
rain, they were in this position, then came a succession of orders, 
first that the battalion was to entrench itself ; this order was 
cancelled and was followed by another soon after to rejoin the 
9th Brigade at Vieille Chapelle, but on the way further orders 
were received, to move to Lacouture and reinforce the 14th 
Infantry Brigade (5th Division). It was close on midnight when 
the Battalion turned into the buildings of a large farm at Lacou- 
ture, tired out and greatly exhausted owing to the heavy going 
and want of sleep, 

55 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

In the farm the battalion remained throughout the 14th, 1 
though at 1 p.m. B Company was sent to support the Man- 
chester of the 14th Brigade, who were being heavily attacked. 
About 6 p.m. the Germans made another attack and A Company, 
with a machine gun, was sent forward to support the Duke of 
Cornwall's Light Infantry. The Lincolnshire remained in 
Lacouture until 5 a.m. on the 1 5th, when A and B Companies 



LABASSEEJ914. 



Armentieres 



Estai-* 




A 



n 



r 



Mi les 



Aubers 



@ P?ft, 



Chi peflef Lacouture V0 M eU ve ^a Cliqueterie Farm 

Rfc^ebouV Cha P e,le ^ HeHies 
St.Vaast 5 




*^£WeT^ 



having rejoined, the whole battalion marched back to Vieille 
Chapelle and rejoined their own Brigade. 

By the night of the 1 5th the enemy had been pressed back 
still further. 

On the 1 6th the 9th Brigade took over a portion of the front 
line. Reveille was at 1.30 a.m., and at 2.30 sum. the Lincoln- 
shire marched off to relieve the and Royal Irish Regiment (8th 

1 About 10 a.m. on the 14th October, Major-General Hubert Hamilton, the Com- 
mander of the 3rd Division, was killed by a shrapnel bullet, about two miles south of 
Estaires, to the great sorrow of all ranks. 



HLKLlJiS [oct. 17TH, 1914 

Brigade) near Rouge Croix. At 7 a.m. the battalion advanced 
to the cross roads and entrenched. Here they remained until 
3 p.m., when the battalion pushed on to Pietre. In this advance 
A and B Companies acted as advanced guard until contact with 
the enemy was established beyond Pietre and to the south of 
Aubers, where on the slope of a ridge the German rearguard 
had taken up position. The battalion advanced to the top of 
this ridge, drove in the enemy's rearguard, seized La Cliqueterie 
Farm and took up a line beyond the road through Bas Wailly 
and L'Aventure. But the Lincolnshire had now penetrated 
beyond the general alignment of the II. Corps : an outpost 
line was therefore established by A and B Companies, the 
remainder of the battalion withdrawing to the above farm for 
the night. 

When darkness fell the sky was illuminated by the red glow 
from burning buildings dotted about on all sides. Farms and 
churches blazed fiercely, but behind the British lines the fires 
were more subdued and were gradually dying down. 

The advance was continued at 7 a.m. on the 1 7th, A and B 
Companies of the Lincolnshire still leading the attack of that 
battalion. At 1.30 p.m., Colonel Smith was ordered to attack 
and capture the village of Herlies. A and B Companies forming 
the firing line, with C and D in support 

This attack, carried out with great dash, is well described in 
the Battalion Diary, and the narrative is given in full. 

" The village of Herlies, looking at it from the point of view 
of our attack, was situated at the foot of a long and gentle slope, 
perfectly open and at that time covered with beet. On our side 
the village was defended by strong entrenchments, further pro- 
tected by barbed-wire entanglements. The enemy was in con- 
siderable force of infantry and was supported by machine guns 
and a horse battery. The distance to be crossed was 1,450 
yards. Battalion advanced in lines to within 1,000 yards of 
position, when we commenced to return the heavy fire poured 
into us. From thence we worked our way by short rushes to 
within five hundred yards of the forward trenches. At this 
point an urgent order was received that the village must be 
carried before dusk. Whereupon Colonel Smith gave the order 
to " cease fire." The battalion made three or four rushes, 
lying down between each. When near enough, to the position 
Colonel Smith gave the order to " charge." At about three 
hundred yards from the position the enemy commenced to 
waver and many were seen to leave their trenches. Battalion 
pressed home and crossing the entanglements carried the trenches 
at the point of the bayonet, following the enemy through the 
burning village." 

57 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

But now unfortunately the Divisional artillery, unaware that 
the battalion had taken the village, recommenced to shell the 
place, and the gallant Lincolnshire had to withdraw to the western 
exits until word was sent back to the guns to stop firing : the 
Battalion then advanced again, but most of the enemy had 
escaped, though forty prisoners were taken. The Lincolnshire 
were shortly afterwards relieved by the Royal Fusiliers and moved 
back to billets in La Cliqueterie Farm. 

This brilliant bayonet charge and the capture of Herlies drew 
immediate congratulations from Divisional Headquarters, the 



■*=>. "v. 






v 







THE ATTACK ON HERLIES 



Brigadier of the 9 th Brigade, at the close of the day's operations, 
sending the following message to Colonel Smith : " General 
Officer Commanding 3rd Division congratulates you and so 
do I." 

The casualties in this affair were one officer (Lieutenant 
Peace) died of wounds, 2nd Lieutenants Cave-Orme and Lucas 
wounded, three other ranks killed and eighty wounded. 

During the day Captain C.'C. Lyall was killed by a stray bullet. 
Early on the 19th the Lincolnshire relieved the Royal Scots 
Fusiliers in the front line, where all day long they were under 
intermittent shell and rifle fire, 2nd Lieutenant Baines and three 
men being wounded. 

Note. The 9th Brigade Diary gives the disposition of the Brigade on the night 
1 7th /i 8th October as follows : Northumberland Fusiliers and Royal Fusiliers in Herlies, 
holding the outer edges : Lincolnshire billeted in La Cliqueterie Farm, Bas Pommereau. 

58 



GERMAN ATTACK [0C t. 2 oth- 2 6th, I9 i 4 

The 20th October witnessed hard fighting all along the line. 
From Armentieres to Ypres the Germans attacked in very 
superior numbers, whilst south of that line British troops in the 
front line were called upon to beat off successive violent attacks. 

The 9th Brigade, still holding the line Herlies-L'Aventure, 
was heavily shelled at about 9 a.m., and an hour later the German 
infantry advanced to the attack, but our guns caught them in the 
open and broke up the advance. At 12 noon another attack 
was launched, the Royal Fusiliers losing heavily, but the enemy 
made no headway and gave up the attempt at about 1 . 1 5 p.m. 
A third attack was threatened at 2.50 p.m. against the south-eastern 
corner of Herlies, but did not materialise. Spasmodic attempts 
under cover of heavy shell fire were made against the Lincoln- 
shire line all day with no success. One shell fell in B Com- 
pany's trench, killing one and wounding eight other ranks. 
About 4 p.m. another shell burst over Battalion Headquarters, 
wounding 2nd Lieutenant Spooner, killing Pioneer-Sergeant 
Sole and wounding eight more men. 

The 2 1st and 22nd were similarly days of constant action, all 
attacks by the enemy being repulsed with heavy losses to his 
infantry. On the latter date the Brigade shortened its front by 
withdrawing to a new line of trenches from Helpecarbe (exclu- 
sive) to Le Pluich (exclusive). The Lincolnshire therefore fell 
back eight hundred yards just before dawn, but were scarcely 
in position when the German artillery opened fire and continued 
to shell the position all day, killing two men and wounding 
nine. 

On the 23rd another withdrawal took place, the 9th Brigade 
falling back to a line on the Richebourg-Armentieres road before 
daylight, the Lincolnshire acting as rearguard. 1 At 10 a.m. 
the Germans advanced and established themselves about seven 
hundred yards in front of the Brigade. Before dawn on the 
24th, an attempt by the enemy to advance was repulsed by 
rifle fire. 

The 25th resembled the 20th, in that before dawn the Ger- 
mans attacked and continued their attacks all day long, but 
without success. Rifle and machine-gun fire swept the trenches 
of the Lincolnshire, killing Lieutenant V.D.B. Bransbury, 2nd 
Lieutenant R. Willis (York and Lancaster Regiment attached 
1 st Lincolnshire), and nine other ranks and wounding twelve men. 

At last, at about 3.30 a.m., on 26th, the battalion was relieved 
by the Northumberland Fusiliers and marched back three miles 
to billets in the village of Rouge Croix. All ranks were now 

iThe withdrawal, though difficult, quite deceived the Germans. It was bright 
moonlight, and some of their posts very close. The Battalion literally crept away on 
tip-toe without a single casualty. (General Smith.) 

59 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

approaching a state of exhaustion. For days and nights on end 
they had been fighting and marching amidst conditions which 
can only be described as appalling. In Rouge Croix they 
had only a few hours rest. For at 3.30 p.m., the Battalion again 
moved forward to support the 7 th Brigade, which was being 
hard pressed at Neuve Chapelle. C Company was sent up to 
support the Wilts, and A and D Companies the West Kents : 
just before dawn on 27th, B. Company joined C. At 1 1 a.m., 
the Royal Fusiliers, South Lanes, and Lincolnshire were ordered 
to attack Neuve Chapelle in order to recapture the village, the 
latter battalion being on the left of the attack which was to take 
place at 3 p.m. 

Under cover of buildings and hedgerows companies were 
withdrawn, and the whole battalion moved to the left, deploying 
astride the Armentieres-Neuve Chapelle road. At 3 p.m. 
B and C Companies forming the firing line, with A and B in 
support, the battalion advanced to the attack, but was at once 
met by very heavy machine-gun and riflerfire. The ground over 
which the attack was made was dotted with cottages and build- 
ings, in which the enemy had posted his snipers and machine- 
gunners. The right and centre were held up, and the Lincoln- 
shire only succeeded in advancing eight hundred yards before 
they were forced to shelter behind walls, tree-trunks, or whatever 
cover was available, from which they replied as best they could 
to the enemy's fire. Here they remained until dark, when two 
lines of trenches were dug and occupied. The word trenches 
is somewhat of a misnomer, for the ground was sodden with 
rain and the so-called trenches became mere ditches of mud and 
water. Officers and men were by now thoroughly exhausted by 
continual fighting and want of sleep. Great difficulty was ex- 
perienced in keeping them sufficiently awake, even to repel 
counter-attacks : if a man sat down he was instantly fast asleep, 
and it took almost rough treatment to awaken him. 1 During 
the day the Battalion lost Lieutenant Hardy and thirteen other 
ranks killed and Major Grant, Captains Magrath, Baird and 
Harrison and seventy other ranks wounded, and seven other 
ranks missing. 

The trenches dug on 27th were held until 30th. They were 
subjected to fire from front and left and the enemy's heavy 

1 The following from the Official History, Vol. II, p. zzz, gives some idea, 
not only of the severity of the fighting in which the ist Lincolnshire had been engaged, 
but of the achievement of the British II. Corps, in defeating the attempt of the 
German High Command to break through on the Arras-La Bassee-Armentieres front. 
Between the 12th and 31st October the 3rd Division lost two hundred and nineteen Officers 
and five thousand six hundred and sixteen other ranks. Opposed to its twelve battalions 
between the 13 th and 3 ist there had been identified over thirteen enemy infantry regiments 
(of three battalions each), four Jager battalions and twenty-seven regiments of cavalry. 

60 



MESSINES [oct. 3 ist, 1914 

howitzers had the range exactly. On the 28 th a shell from one 
of these howitzers fell on the battalion machine gun, with the 
result that the survivors of the team (the remainder having 
become casualties on the 27th) were either killed or wounded. 
The machine-gun section had done splendid work in destroying 
the enemy's snipers' nests in cottages. 

Shortly before midnight on 29th a battalion of Indians arrived 
to relieve the Lincolnshire, but the Germans became aware of 
what was taking place and opened heavy fire, delaying the relief. 
Eventually, however, the battalion withdrew before dawn and 
marched to Vieille Chapelle nominally to have a rest. At 
about 10 a.m. an order was received directing the Lincolnshire 
to return to Neuve Chapelle. The battalion was moving off 
at 2 p.m., when an order changed the destination to Estaires, 1 
where, wet and tired out, all ranks went into billets in farmhouses 
on the further side of the town. 

Thus the Lincolnshire passed out of the area of the Battle of 
La Bassee into the area of the Battle of Armentieres. But their 
stay in Estaires was of short duration, for at 6.45 a.m. on 31st, 
they marched out and, taking the road through Neuve Eglise 
and Lindenhoek, reached Kemmel, where A and B Companies 
dug trenches facing east, till orders came to cease work and march 
into billets in Kemmel. The battalion was now in the area of 
the Battle of Messines, I9i4. a The distance from Estaires to 
Kemmel is about twelve miles, and although the Lincolnshire 
were very tired, the relief from the dreadful trenches at Neuve 
Chapelle was very welcome. 

They were in Belgium, and in country soon to become familiar. 
Mont Kemmel at that period was still picturesque, crowned with 
trees with a pavilion or tower on the summit. On the crests and 
ridges which linked up the principal peaks of the range of hills 
of which Kemmel was the highest (known later as the Wytschaete 
Ridge) were several windmills, whilst away west were the heights 
of Mont des Cats and Mont Noir. East and between three or 
four miles from Kemmel, lay Wytschaete, while about three 
miles south-east of the latter was Messines, on the south-eastern 
extremity of the ridge. 

Fierce and bloody was the struggle between the Germans and 
British for the possession of Messines, but when the Lincolnshire 
arrived at Kemmel on the 31st October, the enemy only held 

1 On the 30th, the Lincolnshire and the Northumberland Fusiliers, under General 
Shaw, started by march route for Wytschaete to support the Cavalry Corps. (Official 
History, Vol II, p. 222.) 

2 All three battles, i.e., Battle of La Bassee (10th October-and November), Battle of 
Armentieres (13th October-2nd November) and Battle of Messines 19 14 (12th October- 
2nd November), were being fought side by side, to say nothing of the operations going on 
from the left bank of the Comines Canal round the whole of the Ypres Salient. 

6l 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

part of the village, the remainder being held by the British : the 
31st October was the most critical day of the fighting at Ypres, 
the Germans having launched prodigious numbers of men in an 
endeavour to break through to the Channel ports. 

The 1st Lincolnshire with the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 1 
had been despatched to Kemmel to reinforce the 2nd Cavalry 
Division, then holding on with grim determination, to Wyt- 
schaete and the high ground in front of the village, whilst the 
1 st Cavalry Division held half of Messines, the London Scottish 
filling the gap between them. 

From midnight (31st October-ist November) onwards every 
British trench and every building between Messines and 
Wytschaete was steadily shelled by the German artillery, one 
battery of their 8" howitzers taking the latter village as its special 
target. 

At 1 a.m., no less than nine German battalions of infantry 
advanced against Wytschaete, which was held by the composite 
Household Cavalry Regiment with a fighting strength of only 
four hundred and fifteen rifles. Simultaneously, a general attack 
in several lines developed against the Messines Ridge between 
the windmill (three quarters of a mile north of Messines) and 
Wytschaete. Even under these adverse conditions, the British 
fire was steady and marvellously accurate, so that despite their 
great superiority in numbers the Germans were for a time held 
off. But the odds (about twelve to one at Wytschaete and three 
to one further south) were terrible, and the weight of numbers 
told, for eventually at about 2.45 a.m., the enemy forced his way 
into Wytschaete and drove the four hundred men of the cavalry 
back to the southern and western edges. Major-General H. 
Gough, the General Officer Commanding, 2nd Cavalry Division, 
ordered the Lincolnshire and Northumberland Fusiliers at his 
disposal at Kemmel to retake the village. The Battalion Diary 
of the former records that "at 1.30 a.m. (1st November) a 
hurried order was received that the battalion was to march to 
Wytschaete and retake the trenches from which the cavalry 
had been driven." " This, states Major-General W.E.B. 
Smith (then Lieut.-Colonel Commanding the 1st Lincolnshire 
Regiment), " was obviously a difficult task, as it was dark and 
impossible to locate the trenches." 

However, within fifteen minutes of the receipt of the order 
the Lincolnshire marched off and reached a point about a quarter 
of a mile from Wytschaete, where they were met by Brigadier- 
General the Hon. C. Bingham (Commanding 4th Cavalry 

i|They and two battalions from the 13th Brigade were sent as being "practically the 
only battalions in anything like fit condition for immediate further efforts." {Official 
History, Vol. II, p. 297.) 

62 



WYTSCHAETE [Nov . ist, i 9 r 4 

Brigade), who told Lieut.-Colonel Smith that they were wanted 
to attack the village immediately : two companies of the North- 



M ESS 1NES, 1914 . 

Poperinghe 

&_ r ° Vfamertin^he 

YpreS 




Ploegsteert 



Miles 



umberland Fusiliers, with the 3rd Hussars in support, were also 
to take part. 

The battalion deployed on the right of the Kemmel- 
Wytschaete road and- advanced in two lines. On reaching a 
railway cutting on the south-western side of the village they were 
fired on "by people whom we thought to be native troops, as 

63 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

they called out several Hindustani words." 1 Lance-Corporal 
King volunteered to go out and reconnoitre the position. He 
climbed a bank and a voice cried out, " We are Indians, who 
are you ? " King answered : " We are Lincolns," but on going 
forward he was shot dead. Another n.c.o. shared the same 
fate. By now many had been killed or wounded, for the enemy 
had advanced a machine gun on the right of the cutting and was 
firing down into the congested ranks of Lincolnshire. Both 
Commanders of A and B Companies became casualties. 

The battalion now fell back about one hundred yards, taking 
as many of the wounded as possible. Many deeds of gallantry 
occurred during this retirement. Meanwhile the Germans were 
rapidly entrenching themselves, singing and shouting. 

On the arrival of the Northumberland Fusiliers on the left of 
the Lincolnshire, the latter were ordered by Brigadier-General 
Shaw to push the attack. Colonel Smith then ordered his men 
to charge the railway cutting in front. 

It must have been somewhere near dawn when this most 
gallant attempt was made. That advance was worthy of the 
highest traditions of the Regiment. Under very heavy rifle and 
machine-gun fire, the battalion rushed forward against the enemy, 
who, in considerable strength, was by now strongly entrenched. 
Many fell dead or wounded, but still the Lincolnshire persevered 
in the attack and got to within a few yards of the German trenches. 
The survivors (for by now the battalion had suffered very heavy 
losses) took the only cover they could get, a very tiny fold in the 
ground, about one hundred yards from the position so strongly 
held by the enemy. 

Here the remnants of the battalion lay until about 6.45 a.m. 
(1st November). Daylight disclosed their position and soon 
they were under merciless artillery fire from the enemy's guns as 
well as rifle-fire from both flanks, while, to make matters worse, 
theirown gunners began to shell them. From this terrible 
position it was imperative to withdraw, but how to do it ! At 
great risk. Colonel Smith had only been able to keep in touch 
with the situation of his battalion by crawling from company to 
company, and now he saw that the only thing to do was to make 
a dash for a hedgerow and small fold in the ground in rear. 
" On Colonel Smith giving the word," records the Battalion 
Diary, " we got up and ran for our lives towards the dip, the 
enemy opening a murderous fire, but probably owing to surprise 
and excitement a great many of their shots went high and many 
of us succeeded in reaching shelter." 

l Prom the Battalion Diary ist Lincolnshire Regiment. There were Indians in the 
neighbourhood as the 57th (Wilde's) Rifles had been holding a line in front of Wytschaete 
on the night 31st October-ist November. 

64 



RETURN TO KEMMEL [N0V . IST , i 9I4 

The survivors formed a rough line ; the next thing to cross 
in their retirement was a long glacis-like slope. . On emerging 
from cover, the battalion once again came under heavy fire, but 
fortunately suffered only a few casualties. At last the glacis 
slope was passed and the Lincolnshire, strung out into skirmish- 
ing order, fell back in the direction of Kemmel. 

The battalion, now numbering less than one hundred all ranks, 
reached the road near Kemmel and marched back in the direction 
of Lindhoek, where on the eastern side of the village they were 
formed up by the Colonel and Adjutant. " Here," states the 
Battalion Diary, " we were joined by three Special Reserve officers 
and about one hundred men who had managed to escape. At 
this time the battalion numbered 175." 

At Kemmel the Lincolnshire were met by the Brigadier, who 
spoke words of encouragement to the men as they marched past 
him ; and indeed they deserved all the praise which could be 
given them, for the direct result of their splendid tenacity and 
dogged courage in maintaining their position was that a large 
force of the enemy was prevented from debouching from 
Wytschaete to seize Kemmel Hill, the tactical importance of 
which was obvious. 

After the survivors of the battalion had been collected outside 
Lindenhoek, they went into billets in the village. Their losses 
were terrible. Five officers (Major C.C.L. Barlow, Captains 
R.N. King and L.de O. Tollemache, 2nd Lieutenants E. Barnes 
and Lee) were killed, three officers (Lieut.-Colonel W.E.B. 
Smith, Captain Johnston and 2nd Lieutenant Hayter) were 
wounded, and two hundred and ninety-three other ranks killed, 
wounded and missing. 

Captain F,H. Blackwood (acting Adjutant) was awarded the 
D.S.O. for his distinguished conduct on 1st November, the 
citation recording that " during an attack on the village 
(Wytschaete) he rallied and kept men in their places after every 
company commander had been killed or wounded, showing great 
gallantry and coolness under heavy fire." The following were 
awarded the D.C.M, : " Lance-Corporal W. Fitch for con- 
spicuous gallantry in taking out a reconnoitring patrol under 
heavy fire and locating the enemy's trenches " ; Private G. 
Saunders for gallantry in volunteering to take a message from 
the firing line under heavy fire : and although twice wounded, 
got through with the message : Private O.W. Birch, who, also 
twice wounded, delivered a message from the firing line, his 
wounds being received as he was endeavouring to rejoin his 
company." 

There were also many subsequent " mentions in despatches " of 
Lincolnshire officers, n.c.o.s and men who had been conspicuous 

f 65 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

throughout that terrible ordeal at Wytschaete. Moreover, 
when they were back in Lindenhoek they were inspected 
by General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, who not only praised their 
appearance and behaviour throughout the campaign, but per- 
sonally congratulated Colonel Smith for his bravery and the way 
he had handled his regiment in action. The Corps Commander 
also published a Special Order of the Day, dated and November, 
1 9 14 : "The Corps Commander has received a letter from 
General E.H. Allenby, C.B., commanding Cavalry Corps : 

' My dear Sir Horace, 

' I must thank you for the help given me during the past 
48 hours by the four Battalions you so kindly sent to our aid, 
the Lincolns, K.O.S.B., K.O.Y.L.I. and the Northumberland 
Fusiliers, They arrived at a very critical time and their 
arrival saved the situation. I fear that they have suffered 
severe loss, but they fought brilliantly. , I am deeply indebted 
to them and to Brigadier-General Shaw. 

* Yours sincerely, 

' E.H. Allenby.' " 



IV 

THE BATTLES OF YPRES : I9I4 

Although no special battle name is allotted to the fighting 
which took place between the 2nd and nth November, there 
was no cessation of the German attacks upon the tired and worn 
troops between the Lys and the Menin road : in this fighting the 
1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was to be engaged. 

At Bailleul, the very necessary work of refitting and reorganiza- 
tion was begun, almost immediately after arrival in billets. On 
the 5th November the battalion had orders to move " at five 
minutes' notice," so tense was the general situation. 

The 9th Infantry Brigade left Bailleul about 10 a.m., on the 
6th, and marched via Dickebusch, Ypres and through the Menin 
Gate to Hell Fire Corner on the Menin road, where it remained 
from 4 p.m. till 1 1 p.m., in case it should be required to support 
the 2nd Division, At u p.m. Brigadier-General Shaw was 
directed to relieve the 6th Cavalry Brigade, in the trenches just 
south of the Menin road {Official History, Vol. II, p. 397), about 
one and a half miles east of Hooge. Here the Lincolnshire, 
66 



THE BATTLES OF YPRES 



[1914 



which had been detailed as reserve battalion, went into dug-outs 
(mere holes in the ground), whilst the Northumberland Fusiliers 
(right) and Royal Fusiliers (left) began the relief of the cavalry. 
The relief was begun at 1 a.m. and completed at about 5 a.m. 
on the 7th November without incident. So desperate had been 
the fighting in this part of the line that units from all formations 
were intermingled in the angle formed by Ypres-Veldhoek- 
Klein-Zillebeke-Ypres. 




Kemmel 




t= 



M i I es 



5 



A 



RMENTIERES 



A cold mist covered the battlefield when dawn broke on the 
7th November : winter had definitely begun and the troops 
were now to fight under conditions without parallel in the history 
of the British Army. Mud, water, rain, frost and snow were 
not unknown in the battles and campaigns of the past, but these 
combined with terrific shell fire of unprecedented fury produced 
conditions under which troops had never before lived and fought. 

With the coming of daylight the enemy's guns opened another 
furious bombardment of the British trenches and his infantry 
advanced to the attack. Under heavy shell-fire, the Lincolnshire 

67 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

stood to arms, ready to go forward if called upon. The call 
came during the afternoon at about 4 o'clock. By sheer weight 
of numbers the Germans had broken into the line between the 
left of Gleichen's and the right of Shaw's groups. 1 

The Lincolnshire, with the Northumberland Fusiliers and 
Bedfords, were then ordered to counter-attack the enemy and 
retake the lost trenches. Advancing through the woods, the 
battalion helped to drive the enemy back, but all of the lost 
ground could not be recovered, and eventually a line one hundred 
yards short of the old position was entrenched, the Lincolnshire 
having B and C Companies in the front line, with A and D in 
support. The position was astride a ride in a wood which was 
constantly swept by machine-gun fire. The roots of trees pre- 
vented digging anything but the shallowest of trenches, which 
rapidly filled with water. The front-line trenches were liquid 
mud. There was a gap on both flanks of the battalion, and 
although this space was constantly patrolled, the enemy's snipers 
found their way through and, hiding themselves in the trees, 
picked off any individual soldier who happened within sight. 
For the next few days patrols were kept busy hunting out these 
pests. For following up and shooting two of them whilst 
accompanying the Commanding Officer on his rounds, Lance- 
Corporal G. Shields was awarded the D.C.M. 

Throughout the 8th, 9th and 10th the Lincolnshire were 
subjected to heavy shell-fire and infantry attacks by the enemy, 
and although the former took toll of the battalion, every attempt 
of the Germans to advance their line failed and they were repulsed 
with heavy losses. On the 8th the battalion lost one other rank 
killed and eleven wounded : on 9th 2nd Lieutenant Torr and 
eight other ranks were wounded : no casualties are given for 
the 10th November. 

The Battle of Nonne Bosschen (Nun's Wood) was fought on 
the nth November. 2 In this battle, better known perhaps as 
the Prussian Guard Attack (the final attempt of the enemy to 
break a way through to Ypres and the coastal towns), the 
Lincolnshire, first heavily shelled at daybreak, were attacked by 
great numbers of Germans. But again all attempts to turn the 
battalion out of its position were repulsed, and the enemy fell 
back like the waves of an angry sea — broken and discomfited. 
Five other ranks killed and fifteen wounded were the losses on 

The six infantry brigades of the II. Corps, greatly reduced in strength, were 
reorganized into seven groups, known by the names of their Commanders. The 9th 
Brigade, less the Scots Fusiliers transferred to another group, was known as Shaw's 
Group. [Official History, Vol. II, p. 384.) 

2 The battle did not end on 1 ith November, for the enemy's attacks continued for 
several days. 

68 . 



NONNE BOSSCHEN 



[NOV. IITH, 1914 



the nth November. Heavy rain fell during the day and the 
trenches were partially flooded. 

The succeeding days, from 12th to 20th November inclusive, 
were days of almost indescribable misery, when only the inherent 
cheerful disposition of the British soldier kept his soul alive 
amidst desperate conditions. On the 12th a hurricane of 
shell-fire swept the British trenches all day, and the Lincolnshire ■ 
lost six more men killed and twenty-three wounded : the 13th 
saw a repetition of the bombardment of the previous day. In 
addition, the battalion made its first acquaintance with " Min- 
nie " (the German Minenwerfer). This was a trench-mortar, 




throwing a particularly objectionable shell which on bursting 
usually caused considerable damage. A burying party was at 
work and the Commanding Officer was reading the burial 
service when the first of these shells fell a few yards away. 
There was a terrific explosion, but fortunately " Minnie " had 
fallen in the soft ground and the worst the Commanding 
Officer and the burying party sustained was a thorough bespat- 
tering of mud and a painful singing in the ears. Thereafter 
" Minnie " became a frequent visitor. 

At about 3 p.m., the German infantry again attacked the 
Lincolnshire, but were again repulsed. Lieutenant Mumby was 
severely wounded during the day, and in other ranks the losses 
were six killed and twenty-three wounded. Heavy rain fell and 

69 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

when darkness came on the scene in the trenches, ankle-deep in 
mud and water, was dismal in the extreme. 

On the 14th the Lincolnshire, the enemy having gained ground 
on the left, were ordered to take up a line about two hundred 
yards in rear of the one held, which had become untenable. As 
soon as it was dark the withdrawal was carried out and the 
battalion occupied a line which the Diary describes as " a 
remarkably ill-chosen position." A series of very small strong 
points had been constructed in support. One was allotted to 
the Lincolnshire. It would no doubt have been useful in the 
event of a break through, but owing to its restricted space 
extremely unpleasant during heavy shelling. Two other ranks 
killed and six wounded were the day's casualties. They might 
have been more had the enemy observed the withdrawal, but 
apparently he was under the impression that the Lincolnshire 
still held their old position, for on the 1 5th they were subjected 
to only occasional shell-fire and the activities of the enemy's 
snipers were negligible. 1 

The battalion expected relief on 1 5th, but for some reason 
only A and D Companies were relieved, B and C remaining in 
the front line. The latter were not relieved until after dark on 
1 6th. 2 On the 1 7th the whole battalion was a little south of 
Hooge, in Sanctuary Wood, in Divisional Reserve, but even 
here there was little peace, for the area was intermittently shelled 
and three men were wounded. The battalion had a hot meal, 
the first after many days. 

Until the night of the 18 th the Lincolnshire remained in 
Divisional Reserve, but on that date returned to the wood sur- 
rounding the Herenthage Chateau, in Brigade Reserve. 3 

Snow and sleet fell heavily on 19th, when A Company was 
sent to support the Northumberland Fusiliers, and B and D 
Companies the cavalry. But between 4 and 5 p.m. orders were 
received to relieve the West Kents in the woods south-east of 
Zillebeke, between Klein Zillebeke and the Comines Canal. 

Accompanied by limber and pack animals the battalion set 
out, and, making a detour, marched via the Menin road, Zillebeke, 
Verbandermolen and Hill 60. Near Verbandermolen the road 
for more than a mile was knee-deep in mud, and in places im- 
passable. Detours into the fields had to be made, but one horse 

1 Two D.CM.'s were won for gallantry by n.c.o.s of the battalion — one by Company- 
Quartermaster-Sergeant W.B. Durrand, and the other by Sergeant J. Hubbard. 

2 The " Fighting Strength " of the battalion as given in the Brigade Headquarters 
Diary on 16th November was three hundred and fifty all ranks. 

3 On the 1 8th the following message was sent to all units from 3rd Divisional Head- 
quarters : " General Smith-Dorrien wires : ' I am very proud of the grand reputation 
the Third and Fifth Divisions have been earning during the desperate fight under the 
First Corps.' " 

70 



VISIT OF H.M. THE KING [dec. 3 rd, , 9 i 4 

harnessed to a limber fell into a shell-hole and had to be destroyed, 
as it could not be extricated. At last, after passing the ridge 
known as Hill 60, better progress was made, the road leading 
downhill at the foot of which were the woods in which the 
Lincolnshire were to relieve the West Kents. The relief was 
completed by midnight. A hard frost set in during the night 
and the 20th was bitterly cold, but for the first time since the 
battalion arrived in the Ypres Salient, and although the German 
trenches were in some places only divided from ours by a narrow 
heap of timber broken up by shelling, no casualties were 
suffered. 

Late on the night of 20th French troops arrived and relieved 
the Lincolnshire, who then marched to Westoutre — a distance 
of twelve miles. This march deserves mention on account of 
the difficulties encountered, not the least being the deplorable 
state of the men's feet after standing in the flooded trenches for 
a fortnight. The heavy fall of snow, succeeded by a hard frost, 
had made the roads almost impassable for horse-drawn transport. 
For some six miles there was a block and it was only by filing 
through the congested traffic that the battalion was able to get 
through at all. It was dawn on 21st before Westoutre was 
reached where, to everyone's dismay, no billets had been pre- 
pared. The troops had therefore to sit down by the roadside 
until 10 a.m., while the country round about was scoured to find 
housing. Eventually a farm was found and the men were put 
into a barn with plenty of straw. 

Of the appearance of all ranks when they came out of the line 
caked with mud from head to foot, unshaven and unwashed, it is 
impossible to give an adequate description. Here for the first 
time leave to England was granted. Captain Blackwood 1 left 
the battalion on sick leave and never rejoined, and Lieutenant 
Ricketts was appointed Acting Adjutant in his place. Captain 
Tatchell arrived with a draft, and several officers. 

Only a few days' rest were allowed the Lincolnshire, and then 
on 27 th November the 9 th Brigade marched to Kemmel, where, 
about 7 p.m., the battalion relieved the Oxford and Bucks in the 
trenches. The 30th saw them back again in billets in Westoutre, 
where, on 3rd December, His Majesty the King passed through 
the village on his round of inspections. The Lincolnshire lined 
up on the roadside with other units of the Brigade. 

A Guard of Honour of fifty n.c.o.s and men, under Captain 
E. Tatchell, proceeded to Locre, where His Majesty presented 
medals to n.c.o.s and men of the Brigade. Private Stroulger 2 

1 Captain Blackwood was drowned in August 1926, in a gallant attempt to save a lady 
in difficulty whilst bathing. 

2 See defence of Frameriesj 23rd August. Page 13. 

71 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

was our only representative owing to all the other n.c.o.s and 
irien who had been awarded medals being killed or wounded. 
Later in the day the whole battalion moved to Locre. 

The Lincolnshire left Locre for Kemmel at 2.30 p.m. on the 
6th December to relieve the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers in the front 
line. They found the trenches in places waist-deep in mud and 
water. B, C and D Companies were put in the firing line, A in 
support in a farm close to Battalion Headquarters. The problem 
was how to deal with the water. Several bundles of fascines 
and some planks of wood were obtained and placed on the floors 
of the trenches to stand on. Whisps of straw were distributed 
to the men, who wrapped them round their legs and boots, but 
still it was impossible to keep dry. After twenty-four hours 
under these conditions B Company was in such a bad state that 
the Commanding Officer ordered A Company to relieve them. 
On the 7th, after twenty-four hours of rain, the trenches were 
like miniature canals. Much of the line did not consist of con- 
tinuous trenches, but of small island posts in the sea of mud. 
The inspection and relief of these posts on a dark night was 
most difficult. 

At about 4 p.m. on 8 th, the Lincolnshire were ordered to 
attack the German trenches opposite the right of the battalion : 
the attack was to take place at 8 p.m. Reconnoitring patrols 
were at once sent out and returned with a report that the enemy's 
position was held in strength. Wire cutters then went out and 
succeeded in cutting the entanglements in front of the German 
trenches. Two companies, A (Captain Tatchell) and B 
(Lieutenant E. James), attacked in line, advancing simul- 
taneously at 10 p.m. Little opposition was met with. The 
enemy's front line trench, which ran along the western edge of 
the wood, was full of water but empty of men. With consider- 
able difficulty the attacking companies reached the other side of 
this trench, but here they were met by heavy rifle and machine- 
gun fire. Both Company Commanders fell wounded, and the 
enemy's fire was so heavy that the attackers were obliged to fall 
back to their own trenches. 1 

Though a failure, the mere fact of these two companies getting 
across No Man's Land as far as the enemy's trenches was (in 
itself) no small feat. The deplorable condition of the trenches 
had so affected the men that unassisted, they were too stiff from 
wet and cold to get out of their trenches in order to attack, and 
the ground over which they had to advance was muddy and 
slippery, with shell-holes full of water. Casualties were four 
other ranks killed, nineteen wounded and eleven missing. Besides 

1 Captain Tatchell was awarded the D.S.O. and Lieutenant James the M.C. for their 
brave and skilful handling of the companies on this occasion. 

72 



CHRISTMAS AT LOCRE [D8C . 25 th, i 9 i 4 

the two officers wounded, and already mentioned, Captain Saurim, 
commanding C Company, was wounded earlier in the day. 

The following incident is yet another instance of the spirit of 
the Regiment despite the hard conditions in which all ranks lived. 
On the 8 th December, before the attack described took place, an 
officer — 2nd Lieutenant Wade — had been ordered to hospital 
suffering from ague. Later it was discovered that he had not 
reported to the Medical Officer. It subsequently transpired 
that he was on his way to hospital when the attack took place. 
Hearing the heavy firing, he most gallantly struggled back to his 
company and went over the top with his men. An officer's cap, 
with a bullet hole through it, was brought in from No Man's Land 
and identified as belonging to Lieutenant Wade, but he was not 
seen again and was subsequently reported as missing. 

The attack on Wytschaete took place on the 14th December. 
During the attack by French troops and the 3rd Division on 
Wytschaete and a small wood west of the village, the 1st Lincoln- 
shire were in reserve. 

The battalion was relieved on the night of 9 th December and 
returned to billets in Locre. On the 14th orders were received 
to march to a point west of Kemmel, where the Lincolnshire took 
up a position in reserve to the 9th Brigade, through whose 
trenches troops of the 8th Brigade passed in the attack on 
Wytschaete. 1 All day the battalion remained in the position 
taken up during the morning, without being called upon. The 
attack was a failure and about 4 p.m. the battalion withdrew to 
Kemmel and billeted. Early the next morning the battalion 
moved to the positions occupied on the previous day. After 
several hours of inactivity, spent in heavy rain, the Lincolnshire 
were ordered to return to billets, but to be ready to move at a 
minute's notice if required. They were not needed and at 3,30 
that afternoon marched to fresh billets in Westoutre. 

Before the year closed the Lincolnshire spent one more tour 
in the front line trenches, i.e., from the 21st to the evening of 
24th December. They were fortunate in having their first 
Christmas dinner out of the trenches in Locre. 

The battalion returned to the front line on New Year's Eve, 
which was signalled by a heavy burst of fire from the German 
trenches and songs were heard coming from the latter, " Auld 
Lang Syne " being conspicuous. The closing days of the year 
1 9 14 were uneventful compared with the exciting times in 
October and November. 

In the British battalions, which fought at the Marne and Ypres, 

1 The fighting on the 14th December, here referred to, was ordered in compliance with 
a general scheme of attack initiated by General Joffre. (See Official History, Vol. Ill, 
p. 16 and Appendix 7.) 

73 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

there were, at the close of 19 14, on an average only one officer 
and thirty other ranks, of those who landed in August, still with 
the Colours. But the officers and men of the old regular Army 
had not fought and fallen in vain. They had created such an 
impression on the Germans that their leaders " turned aside to 
seek for less stubborn foes, and left the British sector alone, 
attempting no serious attack on it for three long years." 

The total losses of the British from the commencement of the 
campaign, as reported by the Adjutant-General in France, were : 

Officers. Other Ranks. 

Killed 842 8,631 

Wounded 2,097 37,264 

Missing 688 40,342 



3,627 86,237 



The greater part of this loss had fallen on the infantry of the 
first seven divisions, which originally numbered only 84,000. 
{Official History > Vol. II, pp. 466 and 467.) 



74 



PART THREE 

THE BATTLE OF NEUVE CHAPELLE, 

THE SECOND BATTLES OF YPRES, AND 

THE BATTLE OF LOOS 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



BERMUDA [SEPT „ I914 

I 

THE 2ND BATTALION LEAVES BERMUDA 

ON the outbreak of war the 2nd Lincolnshire was stationed 
in Bermuda, and its first warlike duty was to organise, 
immediately, defensive measures against any possible 
raid or landing by von Spee's fleet. 

The battalion remained there until the middle of September, 
1914, when the Royal Canadian Regiment arrived in relief. The 
battalion embarked in S.S. " Canada " and, as the ship nosed 
her way through the coral reefs to the open sea, thousands of 
the inhabitants, who had lined the quayside and sandy shore, 
cheered their good wishes and farewells. His Majesty's 
Canadian ship "Niobe" escorted the "Canada" to Halifax, 
Nova Scotia, where the battalion remained several days. On 
each day the battalion landed to carry out route marches and 
training, and on one occasion marched through the city with the 
bluejackets from the " Niobe." 

The Tenth Foot were last in Halifax in 1767. Extract from 
Halifax newspaper : 

" Halifax turned out in force to cheer the crew of H.M.C.S. 
' Niobe ' and the Lincolnshire Regiment, as these two gallant 
units paraded the streets, and everywhere they marched the men 
got an enthusiastic welcome. Thousands on thousands of 
British sailors and soldiers have marched through this city in 
past years, but none ever made a better impression than the men 
who were seen here yesterday. 

" The city expected a good showing from the Lincolnshires, 
one of the historic regiments of the British Army, but it was more 
than surprised and gratified at the magnificent appearance of the 
' Niobe's ' men. British sailors always get a warm welcome 
in Halifax but the crowd showed no favouritism this morning. 
The thousand sturdy men of the Lincolnshires got every bit as 
enthusiastic a reception as the ' Niobe's ' men. All along the 
streets, cheer after cheer rang out as the sturdy men in khaki 
went by and the broad grin on the face of every perspiring 
Tommy, as he stepped out to the strains of the Regiment's 
magnificent band, showed that the greeting of Halifax was 
appreciated and reciprocated. 

" Arriving in the Park, the men piled arms and fell out for 
a smoke, the sailors and soldiers cordially fraternising. The 
march was then resumed and on the way back to the transport the 
band, which had been playing the regimental quickstep, changed 
to the * Maple Leaf,' whereat the volley of cheers redoubled. 
" The Mayor, Mr. Bligh, inspected the men as they passed 

77 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the City Hall and complimented Colonel McAndrew on the 
fine appearance of the men." 

On leaving Halifax, the " Canada " sailed north and anchored 
in Gaspe Bay, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence river, to await 
the assembly of the ships conveying the ist Canadian Contingent 
to England. These were weary days, but on 3rd October all 
had assembled and the thirty-one ships comprising the convoy 
sailed. The escort consisted of H.M.S.s " Eclipse," " Diana," 
" Carybdis," and " Talbot." The " Canada "was detailed as 
Transport Flagship. When nearing England the escort was 
increased by the arrival of the battle cruiser " Queen Mary," 
which with decks cleared for action made an inspiring and 
impressive sight as she swept past at full speed and within a 
cable's length of the " Canada." 

Off Scilly the convoy split up and the ships headed for different 
ports on the west and south coasts of England. The " Canada " 
put into Devonport and the cheers of the vast crowd which 
thronged the Hoe at Plymouth were feelingly reciprocated 
by those on board who had no wish to prolong the already long 
and tedious voyage. 

On disembarking, the battalion journeyed by rail and went 
into camp at Hursley Park, near Winchester. Here the 8 th 
Division, consisting chiefly of battalions from India and the East, 
assembled and the battalion found itself in the 2 5th Infantry 
Brigade. 

Three weeks enabled much to be done in equipping, clothing 
and training and at 12 noon on 5th November the battalion 
marched out of camp for Southampton, where it embarked in 
S.S." Cestrian." 

Havre was reached on the following morning, and by the 
evening of November 6th the battalion was established in rest 
camps above the town. On November 9th the battalion en- 
trained, and after a twenty-four-hour journey went into billets 
for the night at Strazeele, near Merville. 

On November 14th the battalion had its first experience of 
the warfare of the trenches, taking over a portion of the line near 
Laventie, being temporarily attached to the Lahore Division. 

During these opening days in the trenches the battalion 
suffered its first casualties in the war, Lieutenant N.J.S. Hunt- 
ington and five men being killed and seventeen wounded. The 
remainder of November was spent in getting accustomed to the 
new and uncomfortable life, made more trying by the frost and 
snow which, being of exceptional severity, caused much suffering 
more especially as the battalion had only recently come from a 
warm and sunny climate. As a result, many went down with 
sore and frost-bitten feet. 

78 



VISIT OF H.M. THE KING [dec. ist, x 9 i 4 

Trench routine was from time to time relieved by minor inci- 
dents. On November 23rd the battalion carried out the 
Division's first raid, when Lieutenant E.H. Impey, with eight 
men, entered the enemy's trenches. Draped in white sheets, 
the party crept over the snow-covered ground to a portion of 
the German Line known as Red Lamp Corner. The enemy 
were completely surprised and the party, after firing down the 
trench on the confused enemy garrison, withdrew without loss. 

On the ist December the King, accompanied by President 
Poincare and General Joffre, visited the Division, and was re- 
ceived by a Guard of Honour under Captain R. Bastard provided 
by the battalion. 

The weeks sped on and all efforts were concentrated in main- 
taining our position in the water-logged trenches. It soon be- 
came known, however, that more active operations were intended 
as soon as weather conditions made an offensive possible. The 
battalion moved on ist March to billets in La Gorgue, near 
Estaires, where intensive training began and large working parties 
proceeded each evening to the front line opposite Neuve Chapelle. 

The casualties in the trenches of the battalion from the 1 7th 
November, 1914^0 the 10th March, 19 15, were : killed, Lieu- 
tenant N.J.S. Huntington ; other ranks, thirty-six ; wounded, 
other ranks, one hundred and ten. 



II 

THE BATTLE OF NEUVE CHAPELLE : IOTH-I3TH MARCH, 1 9 1 ^ 

During the early months of 191 5 proposals for a combined 
attack on the German lines were the subject of conferences between 
the French and British High Commands. For reasons dealt 
with in the British Official History of the War, a combined attack 
did not take place, and the Battle of Neuve Chapelle was an 
entirely independent operation of the British Expeditionary 
Force. (See Official History, Vol. Ill, pp. 18, 19, 72 and 73.) 

The original plan aimed at reaching a position on the Illies- 
Aubers Ridge, threatening the German communications by rail 
and road between La Bassee and Lille ; but as assistance from the 
French could no longer be counted on, it was foreseen that it 
might become necessary to halt short of the top of the Aubers 
Ridge, and three alternative positions were selected which the 
assaulting units were to be prepared to put in a state of defence : 
the German front trenches, the " Smith-Dorrien " trench east 
of Neuve Chapelle, and a line along the eastern edge of the Bois 

79 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

de Biez to Aubers village. 1 The battle was to begin by the 
capture of Neuve Chapelle as a distinct operation. The gap in 
the enemy's defences thus created was to be enlarged by simul- 
taneous attacks to the right and left 

The 8th Division of the IV. Corps, and the Meerut Division 
of the Indian Corps were to effect the capture of Neuve Chapelle. 
On the right the Garwhal Brigade (five battalions) was to assault 
on a front of six hundred yards, and the 25th and 23rd Brigades 
of the 8 th Division were to assault on the left. The village of 



NEUVE CHAPELLE 
, 1915 




I Mile 



Neuve Chapelle lies in an obtuse angle formed by the La Bassee- 
Estaires road, and the Rue Tilleloy, and about one thousand 
yards from Pont Logy at its apex. The Garwhal Brigade attacked 
from the direction of the La Bassee road, and the 8th Division 
from Rue Tilleloy. 

The 25th Brigade of the 8th Division attacked on a front of 
four hundred yards from the Rue Tilleloy-Neuve Chapelle road 
inclusive to the Sign Post Lane, north of it, exclusive. The 2nd 
Royal Berkshire Regiment on the right, and the 2nd Lincolnshire 

1 Official History, Vol. Ill, pp. 80 and 84. All attacks, to the end of the war, were, 
after this battle, based on the methods of the First Army in preparing for Neuve 
Chapelle. For the first time objective maps (with the well-known red and blue lines, etc.) 
were issued, and for the first time a barrage was ordered, and artillery time-tables 
issued. 

80 



NEUVE CHAPELLE [mar. roTH, I9I5 

(Lieut.-Colonel G.B. McAndrew) on the left. The 23rd 
Brigade assaulted north of the 25th. The 2nd Rifle Brigade 
was to pass through the Royal Berkshire to the 2nd objective, 
the road along the east edge of the village, and the 1st Royal 
Irish Rifles through the 2nd Lincolnshire, prolonging the line 
of the second objective from the left of the Rifle Brigade. 

At this period almost all the houses in the village were in ruins, 
but the remains of the walls provided good cover. The northern 
side of the village was wooded and an important feature was the 
triangle of roads, where the enemy had mounted a number of 
machine-guns. The enemy's front-line trenches were heavily 
wired, though he suffered from the same disabilities as his oppo- 
nents from the soft ground, and in wet weather his defences were 
flooded with water. East of the village and between the latter 
and the Bois de Biez (a large wood) was a small watercourse — 
the River des Layes. 

The British front-line trenches (B Lines) lay east of the Rue 
Tilleloy, and consisted mostly of breastworks, from which com- 
munication trenches led back to another breastwork line imme- 
diately east of the road. 

For the first time during the war the enemy's wire entangle- 
ments were to be cut by artillery fire. The guns were to open 
at 7.30 a.m., thirty-five minutes being allotted to the first phase 
of the bombardment, during which 1 8-pounders, firing shrapnel, 
were to cut passages through the wire while other guns were to 
shell the hostile trenches to be attacked, as well as selected areas. 
At 8.5 a.m., the guns were to lift their fire from the enemy's 
forward trenches to the village and strong points north and south. 
Then 9.2-in. and the 6-in. howitzers were to concentrate on the 
village, whilst 1 8-pounders and 13-pounders put down a screen 
of fire east of Neuve Chapelle. The second bombardment was 
to last thirty minutes. About three hundred and fifty guns were 
to take part, whilst for the first time the huge 15-in. howitzer 
(known as " Granny "), firing from Sailly-Labourse, was to give 
the signal for the attack. The infantry were to attack at 8.5 
a.m., when the artillery lifted off the enemy's front-line trenches. 
The 2nd Battalion, billeted in La Gorgue on the 1st March, 
spent several days before the battle, not only in supplying working 
parties to dig assembly trenches in the orchard behind B Lines, 
in front of Neuve Chapelle, but also in practising the clearing, 
filling-in and blocking of trenches. At 8 p.m. on the 9th March 
they marched out of billets at La Gorgue for B Lines, from which 
they were to attack on the following morning. C and D Com- 
panies took over the first (or firing) line, i.e., the permanent 
trench or breastworks, with A and B about one hundred and fifty 
yards in rear in assembly trenches. Landmarks were pointed 
g 81 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

out to company commanders the night before. Some very tall 
poplar trees gave a definite objective to the Lincolnshire on their 
right. 

During the evening the Corps Commander (Lieut.-General Sir 
H. Rawlinson) issued the following Special Order to the troops : 

" The attack which we are about to undertake is of the first 
importance to the Allied cause. The Army and the Nation are 
watching the result and Sir John French is confident that every 
individual in the IV. Corps will do his duty and inflict a crush- 
ing defeat on the German VII. Corps which is opposed to us." 

During the night rain and occasional snow fell, while the 
troops were moving to their assembly positions. Dawn on the 
ioth March broke cold, wet and misty, but by about 6.30 a.m. 
the weather showed signs of improvement. It was as well, 
otherwise aerial reconnaissance and artillery observation would 
have been almost impossible. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel G.B. McAndrew, com- 
manding) as the hour for the attack approached were disposed 
as follows : C Company (Captain H.St.G. Eagar) on the right, 
in the front trench and breastworks ; D Company (Captain R. 
Bastard) on the left in similar trenches ; A Company (Captain 
Littleton) was in support of C ; and B Company (Major S.Fitz.G. 
Cox) supported D in the assembly trench. 

At 7.30 a.m., the solitary boom of a great gun broke the 
silence — it was " Granny " giving the signal for the bombard- 
ment to begin. Immediately the air was rent by a terrible 
crash as the guns opened fire on the enemy's wire entanglements 
and trenches. In a few minutes the hostile entanglements, which 
varied from six to fifteen yards in depth and consisted of two 
or three rows of ' knife rests ' with strands of thick barbed wire 
wound round the frames and pulled tight between them, were 
blown to bits along the whole front, with the exception of a 
stretch of four hundred yards on the left. The German front- 
line trenches were practically obliterated, killed and wounded 
being buried beneath the debris or flung about, horribly muti- 
lated. 

At 8.5 a.m. the artillery lifted on to the village and a general 
line of about three hundred yards east of the front line. The 
infantry assault then began. 

Whilst the Lincolnshire watched the destruction of the 
enemy's wire and trenches, they suffered considerable casualties 
from our own guns, and it was a relief when, as the guns lifted, 
C and D Companies clambered up and over their breastworks, 
using small ladders, which had been specially constructed and 
placed in position the previous evening. Led by Captains Eagar 
and Bastard, the two companies rushed across No Man's Land. 
82 



NEUVE CHAPELLE [mA r. 10 th, i 9I5 

They were met by a pretty hot rifle-fire from those Germans 
who emerged from cover to meet the expected British infantry 
attack. A machine-gun was still in action, served by two wounded 
German officers. 

Captain Bastard was first into the enemy's trenches, followed 
closely by Captain C.G.W. Peake, and his blocking party, whose 
instructions were to block the German trench at Sign Post Lane 
until touch with the 23rd Brigade had been established. Hold- 
ing a blue flag (a distinguishing mark adopted for blocking 




NEUVE CHAPELLE 



parties) in the air, Captain Peake, followed by his men, rushed 
up a trench on the left, driving about thirty Germans before him. 
G.S. grenades were flung at these Germans who, running out of 
a trench to their rear, endeavoured to escape. But their pursuers 
cut off their line of retreat with more bombs and troops of the 
23rd Brigade having come up on the left of the Lincolnshire, 
the hostile troops were forced to surrender. It was at this 
moment that Captain Peake, having ordered a German officer 
who had surrendered to take off his equipment, turned his face 
for a moment to speak to an n.c.o. The German thereupon 
fired twice with his revolver at Captain Peake, killing him. He 
was however, quickly avenged, for with angry shouts, the dead 
officer's men bayoneted the German. The whole of the enemy's 
front-line trenches along the battalion front had been gained 
with only a loss of about twenty men. 

83 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Meanwhile A and B Companies had followed close on the 
heels of C and D and entered the German lines. The enemy 
now appeared to be in full retreat. Greatly elated at their 
success the Lincolnshire pushed on over the hostile communica- 
tion trenches towards their objective. Even the wounded tried 
hard to follow up their comrades. One n.c.o. (Lance-Corporal 
Perry), who had been badly hit in the foot, was ordered three 
times to sit down and take cover, but although hampered by a 
Barr and Stroud range-finder, which he had been detailed to 
carry, he still insisted on rallying his men and in other ways doing 
good work. 

It was between the first and second German lines that the 
2nd Lincolnshire sustained a great loss. Their Commanding 
Officer, Lieut-Colonel G.B. McAndrew, fell mortally wounded : 
his right leg had been practically blown off by a shell. As he 
lay dying this very gallant officer asked to be lifted up that 
he might see his battalion advancing. " He died," records the 
Battalion Diary, " asking after his Regiment, without any com- 
plaint of the pain he was suffering." 

The forward line, consisting now of C and D Companies 
reinforced by some of A Company, continued to advance until 
they reached what the records describe as a " broad strip of 
water running right down our front. This water was about 
four to five feet deep and impassable." This must have been a 
dyke. A plank was found and the water temporarily bridged, 
enabling the men to pass over and form a firing line on the 
opposite side. The Germans were discovered about one hundred 
and fifty yards in front, taking cover behind a hedge from the 
fire of British guns. The Lincolnshire opened fire and the 
enemy retired. But now, unfortunately, the British shells sud- 
denly began falling short. Those of the battalion on the far 
side of the dyke had to retire fifty yards. In this enforced retire- 
ment Lieutenants A.W. Wylie and JJ. Billiat are mentioned as 
showing great command over their men in getting them back 
without any material harm. 

A discussion then took place between the officers and the con- 
clusion they arrived at was that it was better to retire across the 
water obstacle and entrench. This was accomplished, though 
just before the movement took place, enfilade fire was observed 
from the left rear and Lieutenant Wylie was hit in the stomach. 1 
His wounds were dressed and he was left in a shell-hole. 

West of the dyke the Lincolnshire formed up on a slight rise. 
A few minutes later the Royal Irish Rifles passed through, the 
Lincolnshire cheering them lustily. " Captain Graham," states 
the narrative, " was rallying his men with a French newsboy's 

J-Shot by a sniper Jn British uniform. 
84 



NEUVE CHAPELLE [MAR . ioth, i 9 i 5 

horn, giving a ' View Hulloa ' occasionally, just as a master 
collects his pack." The Irishmen passed over the water as the 
Lincolnshire had done. Major Fitz.G. Cox, and some of the 
Lincolnshire of his company were with the Irish at their final 
objective, and he was ordered to assist their Commanding Officer, 
and a Royal Engineer officer to consolidate their position. The 
battalion then crossed the water obstacle again and began to dig 
a trench behind it, a report being sent back to Major Howley 
that this was being done. The Adjutant (Captain E.P. Lloyd) 
having been wounded, Captain Impey was ordered to take over 
his duties. 

The enemy's fire having died down, the reorganization of 
companies took place, and on the night ioth/uth the 2nd 
Lincolnshire were disposed as follows : C Company on the right, 
D on the left, in trenches dug by the battalion ; A and B Com- 
panies were in support in what had been the German second-line 
trenches. The Berkshire were on the right and troops of the 
23rd Brigade on the left of the Lincolnshire. In front, and 
holding the village to the left, were the Rifle Brigade on the 
right and the Royal Irish Rifles on the left, the battalion sup- 
porting the latter. Roll call that night revealed a heavy casualty 
list, especially in officers. 1 

The general results of the operation on 1 oth March were the 
capture of the German defences from the Port Arthur Salient to 
just beyond the Moated Grange, i.e., a front of about four 
thousand yards. Neuve Chapelle village was captured and held 
and the British line advanced to a depth of about one thousand 
two hundred yards. 

During the night ioth/i ith the opposing forces continued to 
consolidate their positions. Just before midnight, orders were 
received for the attack to be continued on the nth ; the line 
La Cliqueterie Farm-La Plouich-Rouge Bancs was given as the 
objective of the 7th and 8 th Divisions. 

Throughout the hours of darkness the Lincolnshire stretcher- 
bearers worked hard at bringing in the wounded, though only 
two stretchers were available : the records speak gratefully of 
the assistance lent by two bearers of the Irish Rifles who worked 
for the battalion. 

In the small hours of the 1 ith A and B Companies were moved 
up in close support of the Royal Irish Rifles. At about 5 a.m. 
the battalion was collected in some trenches to the left rear : the 
23 rd Infantry Brigade had received orders to take over the 25th 

1 Officers killed : Lieut.-Colonel G. McAndrew, Captain C.G.W. Peake, Lieutenants 
F.D. Montague and A.W. Wylie, and 2nd Lieutenant E.C.H. Webb. Officers wounded : 
Captains W.F.G. Wiseman, H.St.G. Eagar, E.F.O. Richards, E.P. Lloyd and Batten 
(Royal Fusiliers, attached), 2nd Lieutenant Needham, and the Battalion Medical Officer, 
Lieutenant Canon, Royal Army Medical Corps. 

85 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Brigade line and support the 24th Brigade, which was to launch 
the attack of the 8 th Division. On relief, all battalions of the 
25th Brigade were told to assemble independently and take 
advantage of all available cover. Thus the 2nd Lincolnshire 
assembled behind the Royal Irish Rifles. Battalion Head- 
quarters were in a trench in rear of C and D Companies, just 
south of the point where the Armentieres road crosses Signpost 
Lane. 

At 8.55 a.m. Major Howley, the Acting Adjutant, Lieutenant 
Impey and Headquarters Staff were sitting in this trench, when 
there was a sudden flash. A shell came through the parapet of 
the trench, hitting Major Howley in the back and killing him 
instantly, the Adjutant was knocked over, and Private Atterby 
blown clean out of the trench. 

Major S.Fitz.G. Cox now took command of the battalion, 
which by 10 a.m. had been moved about two hundred yards 
farther back, to the trench occupied by A and B Companies the 
previous night. All day long the Lincolnshire remained in this 
position, at one time for two hours under heavy shell-fire, describ- 
ed as " horribly exact." 

At about 12.15 communication with Brigade Headquarters 
having failed, Major Cox decided to move the battalion into 
Neuve Chapelle in support of the Royal Irish Rifles. Through 
a pretty hot fire the Lincolnshire proceeded up the road and 
eventually got into the village and found shelter amongst the 
ruins. The Royal Irish Rifles were then engaged with the 
enemy in front, but although A Company was sent up in close 
support of the Rifles, the Lincolnshire were not engaged. 
Throughout the night nth/i2th they remained in the village, 
but early on the latter date returned to their original German 
trench. 

The renewed attack by the British on the nth failed to make 
any material progress. On the 1 2 th the Germans launched their 
counter-attack, but similarly they gained little. The Lincoln- 
shire Diary records that the battalion remained in its trenches 
" all that day and the night (i 2th /13th) " ; forward Battalion 
Headquarters were with C Company. That night, at about 
8 p.m., Captain C.G.V. Wellesley rejoined the Battalion (he had 
been ill and away from it). He was coming up with the 
ration party when a shrapnel shell pitched into it, mortally 
wounding the officer and twelve other ranks about thirty yards 
from Battalion Headquarters : Captain Wellesley died about 
one and a half hours later. 

The night of the 12th, however, saw the last of the battle, the 
opposing forces consolidating their line. The Lincolnshire car- 
ried out several reliefs, but there is little more of interest to relate, 
86 



TRENCH WARFARE, YPRES [ja N .-apr., l9is 

and on the 17th the battalion moved to a reserve position on the 
Tilleloy road. 

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle cost the 2nd Lincolnshire the 
loss of seven officers killed, eight wounded, and two hundred and 
ninety-eight other ranks killed and wounded. In this, their first 
great battle of the war, they had fought splendidly. The intre- 
pidity shown by the battalion and by their comrades, the Berk- 
shires, was one of the main features in the success of the initial 
attack, which the Brigadier (in his report") stated " dashed forward 
gallantly." 



Ill 

TRENCH WARFARE, YPRES, I915 

During January, and part of February, the ist Lincolnshire 
were in a comparatively quiet part of the line east of Kemmel. 
On the 8 th February Lieut.-Colonel Smith, who had suffered 
for some time from an injury to his foot, was obliged to go on 
leave for treatment, and Major Lancelot Edwards took command 
of the battalion. He retained it, with the exception of a few 
days, until he was mortally wounded on the 5th April, as Lieut.- 
Colonel Smith, after his return from leave, was appointed, on 
the 25th March, to command the 80th Brigade. " We shall 
miss him very much in the regiment although he has been with 
us less than a year. He is a wonderful Commanding Officer." 
(Major Edwards' Diary.) 

On the 17th February the battalion, with the rest of the 9th 
Brigade, was ordered to Ypres to relieve troops in that area. 
Two other brigades were ordered up at the same time to take 
the place of a division which needed a rest. The Lincolnshire 
moved into their new trenches on the 21st. B Company 
(Captain Boys) found theirs to be a thoroughly untenable ditch, 
up to the knees in mud and water. The Germans at one point 
were actually in the same trench, an interval of fifteen yards 
separating the Lincolnshire and the Germans, with traverses 
between. In places the Germans were actually in rear, and 
sentries had to be posted to the rear as well as to the front. 

B Company held the left of the line, and C Company (Captain 
Grantham) the right on the Bluff. B Company lost eleven 
men killed (shot through the head) in the first half-hour, and later 
a German raid took place in rear of our trench. The Lincoln- 
shire set to work with a will to improve the line, and the Germans 
made no more attempts to shoot our men in the back. When 
the battalion was relieved, our line was like a fortress. 

87 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

There were many casualties on the Bluff, which the 
Germans attacked with artillery, trench-mortars and snipers. 
Captain Grantham was killed on the 27th February by a shell 
when in a shelter, to the great grief of all who knew him. He 
was a great loss to the battalion. 

About the middle of March the battalion was moved to the 
" Hill 60 " secftor, when the Germans on the 14th blew in a 
portion of the line, and A Company (Major Boxer) did the 
work of supermen in rebuilding the defences. 

The next tour on 2nd April was near St. Eloi, with the 3rd 
Division, in the most exposed part of the line for miles. Here 
Major Edwards and Captain Phillips were mortally wounded. 
On the 5th April, when Major Edwards was hit, he went across 
the open to see for himself the conditions in daylight. It was 
a miracle he was not killed in the open, as there was no com- 
munication trench, but he was hit as soon as he reached the front 
trench. He died on the 1 5th April in No. 7 General Hospital. 
A brother officer writes : " Major Edwards' spirit, devotion to 
duty and self-denial were most marked through these trying 
periods. It was the bitterest of blows to us that he should have 
been mortally hit as he was making his final arrangements to 
master the Germans." 

The -period referred to above has been described by the same 
officer as the most trying he experienced whilst serving with the 
battalion. The brigade, and the battalion, were moved from 
one danger spot to another, kept in each till we gained complete 
mastery over the enemy, before we were transferred somewhere 
else to repeat the process. 

Major Greatwood, who was wounded on the Aisne in Sep- 
tember, rejoined the battalion on the 23rd March. 1 



IV 

THE BATTLES. OF YPRES, I9I5 

The area of the Battles of Ypres 1 9 1 5 extended from the 
Comines-Ypres Canal as far as Voormezeele, thence along the 
road to Vlamertinghe Chateau, Elverdinghe Chateau, Boesinghe 

l The casualties of the ist Battalion in the trenches near Ypres between the 14th December, 
1914, and the 22nd April, 1915, were : killed (or died of wounds) three officers (Major 
Ed-wards, Captains E.M. Grantham, and J.N. Phillips) ; thirty-eight other ranks. 
Wounded : six officers (Lieutenant E.W. Wales, 2nd Lieutenants H. Ingoldby, H.C. 
Disbrovre, M.D. Wilson, T.G. Newbury and A.J. Gilby) ; one hundred and eighty-nine 
other ranks. One other rank missing. 

88 



THE BATTLES OF YPRES [A pr.- june , I9 r 5 

and Langemarck. 1 On the 22nd April, the 1st Lincolnshire 
relieved the 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, of the 5th 
Division, in front-line trenches astride the Comines-Ypres Canal : 
the battalion was on the extreme right flank of the battle area, 
where trench warfare of a more or less violent character was in 
progress. The battalion occupied these trenches for about five 
weeks, an unusually long period for any battalion to hold the 
front-line without relief. Major D.H.F. Grant commanded it 
during this period, after Major Edwards was mortally wounded 
on the 5 th April 

The Cornwalls were then holding the right sub-sector of the 
14th Brigade. The 5th Division lost heavily in the attack on 
Hill 60, and therefore the 9th Brigade was ordered to take over 
some of the trenches of the 14th Brigade. The relief took place 
about 10 p.m., three companies of the Lincolnshire occupying 
fire trenches and immediate support trenches on the southern 
side of the Canal, as well as posts on both sides. The fourth 
company, with Battalion Headquarters, occupied dug-outs near 
Lankhof Chateau, about one thousand yards away on the northern 
bank. 

The Canal at this period, owing to fine weather, although 
swampy in places, was sufficiently dry to permit the building of 
a barrier across it, the posts on the bank being on either side. 

During the gas attack on the northern extremity of the Ypres 
salient, everything was very quiet on the Lincolnshire front. 
The edge of the gas wave reached them on the canal bank, rather 
a pleasant odour, and they wondered what it was. A heavy duel 
between the opposing artillery, continuous rifle fire and a violent 
bombardment of Ypres during the night, was also noted. 

The enemy's front line was from one hundred and thirty to 
three hundred yards distant from the Lincolnshire trenches, the 
approaches to the latter being over open ground for about six 
hundred yards, exposed to hostile rifle-fire. The hostile rifle- 
fire caused on an average two casualties to each company during 
every relief during the five weeks. The first night was spent in 
work on the defences, which were badly in need of repair. Much 
good work was done in improving these trenches, which were 
sited at the bottom of a hill, out of reach of the German artillery, 
in most of the front-line sectors. Digging was impossible, as 
the water lay within a foot of the ground surface, so breastworks 
had to be built above ground. 

The 23rd was cold and- windy. The situation in the front 
line was reported as quiet, but another violent artillery duel 

1 These are the boundaries laid down in the Report of the Batdes Nomenclature Com- 
mittee, and within which British troops operated : the French area extended as far north 
as Steenstraat. 

89 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

between the opposing guns lasted all day. During the afternoon 
heavy rifle-fire was heard on the left of the battalion and Ypres 
was again undergoing continuous bombardment. 

Dawn next morning brought with it sounds of violent gun-fire 
and rifle-fire from north-east of Ypres — the beginning of the 
Battle of St. Julien. At night an officer's patrol reconnoitred 
the enemy's wire entanglements and threw four grenades into 
the German trenches. 

The 25th passed similarly. On the 26th the records state : 
" Engagement north-east of Ypres has been in progress during 
day and night. Two officers — 2nd Lieutenant L.T. Brook and 
Lieutenant and Quartermaster F.W. Masters — were wounded," 
and Sergeant-Drummer Stevens was killed on 27 th. 

April merged into May with little to report but the volume of 
artillery-fire, mostly on the left flank. No mention of gas occurs 
in the Brigade records until the 2nd of the latter month, when 
mouth gags, soaked in solution of soda and water were issued 
to the battalion as a precaution against asphyxiating gas enemy 
were using. But during the afternoon and evening of the 5th a 
tell-tale mist was observed floating from the direction of the 
German trenches towards the Lincolnshire ; it was poison gas. 
Mouth gags were hurriedly adjusted and sprays containing a 
solution of carbonate of soda were brought into use to counteract 
the effects of the noxious gases. None of the Lincolnshire appear 
to have been affected by the gas, but it was sufficiently strong at 
Dickebusch Chateau to kill a horse belonging to the artillery. 

Day by day the opposing guns shelled each other mercilessly 
or turned their attention to the front-line trenches, blowing 
parapets down and generally creating chaos. Ypres was on fire 
for days, and till now was said to be full of civilians, who were 
evacuated during the terrific artillery duels that took place. 
Ypres burning by night was one of the most magnificent and 
saddest sights seen during the war. Through it all a gradual 
ascendancy over the German infantry was making itself felt. 

> With rifle and machine-gun fire, which held him to his trenches 
with bombs skilfully thrown into his fire bays, by constantly 
harassing his working parties so that they hardly dared to venture 
from their trenches, by patrolling No Man's Land, so that hostile 
patrols dare not show their faces, and by blowing up his strong 
points, in such ways did the Lincolnshire gradually subdue the 
energies of the Germans opposed to them. One instance which 
shows how completely impotent the enemy had become may be 
quoted. After darkness had fallen on the 15th May a party of 
n.c.o.s and men went out in front of the trenches to remove 
some growing crops which were obstructing the field of fire. 
They successfully carried out this work and returned without 
90 



AUBERS RIDGE [may 9™, 1915 

suffering a single casualty — an impossibility had the enemy been 
on the alert or possessed the fighting spirit of the battalion. 
And yet in spite of the inactivity of the opposing infantry the 
Lincolnshire suffered many casualties from artillery, trench- 
mortar and rifle and machine-gun fire, for the thirty-five days in 
the trenches cost the battalion eight officers 1 and one hundred 
and twenty-five other ranks. These casualties were chiefly 
caused in the support and reserve lines and during reliefs. The 
front line suffered only from trench-mortars, and perpetual rifle- 
grenade-fire. Trench mortars were only in their infancy at this 
time, but the Germans had a few, and we had none, though we 
had a few stick bombs and rifle-grenades. 

Until the 26th May the Lincolnshire held these trenches, but 
on that date they were relieved by the 2nd King's Own Scottish 
Borderers, and marched back to billets in Ouderdom. 

The battalion had a tour in the trenches, where there was a good 
deal of fighting, in the neighbourhood of Hooge and Zouave 
Wood, between the 1st and 5th June. The Lincolnshire were 
in support of the 6th Cavalry Brigade. Their casualties were 
Lieutenant J.W. Harris, and ten other ranks killed, and 2nd 
Lieutenant T.R. Hammond, ninety-one other ranks wounded 
and nineteen missing. On the 5th June the battalion was with- 
drawn to Brandhoek, four miles west of Ypres, until it was moved 
to the front again to take part in the attack on Bellewaarde. 

On the 9th June the following received the Distinguished 
Conduct Medal : Sergeants W. Kirk and W. Coulson, Lance- 
Corporals A. Brownley and G. Williams, Privates C.F. Smith 
and N. Mum by. Major H.E.R. Boxer took command of the 
battalion on the 27th May, and Major F.W. Greatwood was 
transferred to the 2nd Battalion. 



V 

THE BATTLE OP AUBERS RIDGE : <?TH MAY, I915 

The conversations between the French and British High 
Commands, which preceded the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, were 
resumed after it, and resulted in a plan for a simultaneous attack 
by the French Tenth Army, and the British First Army. The 

1 In addition to the names already given, the following officers' casualties (all wounded) 
were reported— and Lieutenant L.T.W.S. Bower (1 /$ /15), 2nd Lieutenant S.H. Jeudwine 
(n / 5 /i 5 ), Lieutenant R.W. Cave-Orme (16 /$ /15), Lieutenant H. Marshall (34 /$ /15), 
Lieutenant G.W.H. Applin (25 Js /15), 2nd Lieutenant H.H.St. Tufton (z6 /s /15). 

91 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

objective of the former, the Vimy Ridge, and of the latter, the 
road to Lille, between La Bassee to Fourmes. 1 

The right attack of the British First Army was carried out by 
the I. Corps, and the Indian Corps south of Neuve Chapelle, 
and the left attack by the IV. Corps, 7th and 8th Divisions, 
north of Neuve Chapelle. The general idea of the first movement 
was the forcing of a breach in the German defences at two points 
six thousand yards apart, followed by a convergent advance of 
the I. and Indian Corps eastwards, and of the IV. Corps 
south-eastwards . 

The 8 th Division furnished the brigades for the assault ; the 
24th Brigade on the right, and the 25th Brigade (Brigadier- 
General Lowry Cole) on the left. The 25th Brigade, in addition 
to the regular battalions of the Lincolnshire, Royal Berkshire, 
Royal Irish Rifles and Rifle Brigade, now included the 1st and 
13th Battalions of the London Regiment. The front of the 
Brigade was marked on the right by the Sailly-Fromelles road, 
which divided it from the 24th Brigade, and on the left by a road 
which ran from La Cordonnerie Farm past Delangre Farm. The 
length of the front was about seven hundred yards. 

The width of No Man's Land opposite the 25th Brigade, 
averaged only one hundred yards from the front British trench or 
breastwork, to the German wire. A distance of four hundred 
yards separated the two assaults of the 25th Brigade. The right 
assault was carried out by the 2nd Rifle Brigade, and 1st Royal 
Irish Rifles, supported by the 2nd Royal Berkshire, and 2nd 
Lincolnshire, and the left assault by the 1 3th London Regiment. 
The assault was preceded by bombardment of the German de- 
fences by our artillery, but was not as successful as anticipated. 
{See Official History, Vol IF, Chapter I.) 

The 2nd Lincolnshire (Major S.FitzG. Cox commanding) 
were in billets at Sailly when, on the 7th May, orders for the 
attack reached them and were issued to companies. At 1 1 p.m. 
on the 8 th the battalion left billets and marched down the Sailly- 
Fromelles road to its assembly trenches, which were near Rue 
Petillon. Here companies formed up ready for the attack to 
take place on the following morning. A (Captain E.W. French) 
and B (Captain J.A.A. Griffin) Companies were in the front line 
with C (Captain B.J. Thruston) and D immediately behind. 
The battalion was on the left of the second (or support) line, 
with the Royal Irish Rifles in front. 

By 2 a.m. on the 9th, the 25th Brigade (less the 1 3th Londons) 
was formed up in assembly trenches opposite the section of the 
enemy's line to be attacked : the 13th Londons were four 

1 Official History, Vol. IV, p. 2. See also page 29 et seq. for detaib of the attack of the 
8th Division. 

92 



AUBERS RIDGE [may 9TH, 1915 

hundred yards to the left, where two mines were to be exploded. 
The forming-up operations were carried out by night, the orderly 
assembly of the troops being a remarkable piece of work by the 
Brigade Staff. At 5 a.m., the guns opened fire on the German 
trenches and for forty minutes pounded his defences and blew 
the wire entanglements in front of them to bits. 

At 5.40 a.m., the guns lifted and the leading lines of the 2nd 
Rifle Brigade and Royal Irish Rifles advanced to the attack, the 




AUBERS RIDGE 



2nd Lincolnshire following close in rear of the Irishmen. The 
enemy's artillery at once opened heavy fire on the advancing 
troops, while his machine-guns and riflemen subjected the 
attacking columns to a storm of bullets from both flanks. The 
Rifle Brigade and Royal Irish Rifles lost heavily. Nevertheless, 
with great gallantry, the leading companies stormed the German 
breastwork, though it was practically undamaged, and pressed 
on to their first objective, the bend of the Fromelles road, two 
hundred yards beyond. 

The supporting battalions moved forward as the leading 
battalions crossed No Man's Land, but as the enemy recovered 
from the effects of the British bombardment his rifle and machine- 
gun fire from the flanks became more intense and the casualties 
more numerous. 

93 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

. The leading companies of the Lincolnshire (A and B) got as 
far as the German breastwork, but from that point further advance 
was impossible. Before this position was reached 2nd Lieuten- 
ants G.E. Ayres and R.D.M. Nisbet had been killed and 2nd 
Lieutenants H.G.E. Clifford and E.H. Hind wounded. 

C and D Companies had by this time reached the British 
parapet. The Brigadier (Brigadier-General A.W.G. Lowry 
Cole) then ordered the 2nd Lincolnshire (Major S.Fitz.G. Cox), 
who still had two companies in hand, to get across by the mine 
craters and work down towards the 2nd Rifle Brigade (the mines 
in the meantime had been exploded and the crater occupied by 
the 13th Londons), and after gaining possession of the German 
trench, to join up with the left of the 2nd Rifle Brigade. This 
order was given personally by the Brigadier, who had arrived in 
the front line in order to be in close touch with the situation. 
He had, however, barely given the order, when " a number of 
men of the Rifle Brigade and Irish Rifles were seen streaming 
back over the German breastwork bringing with them the other 
two companies of the 2nd Lincolnshire." (Official History, Vol. IF, 
p. 36.) Some unauthorized person had given the order to retire 
with the result that a general movement back from the enemy's 
trenches began. 

For a few minutes confusion ensued. There were shouts of 
a counter-attack, caused by the sight of several German prisoners 
seen running for cover in the British lines : the Brigadier, in 
order to stop the retirement, sprang on to the parapet and by 
voice and gesture succeeded in arresting and turning the troops. 
By his courageous action and fine example he gained control of 
the situation, but all attempts to resume the advance were im- 
possible in face of a murderous fire which was now sweeping 
No Man's Land. The General was still standing on the parapet 
encouraging and urging his men on when he fell mortally 
wounded, and died shortly afterwards. 

The Commanding Officer of the 2nd Rifle Brigade was the 
next senior Officer, but he was with the remnants of his battalion 
in the German lines. Major Cox of the 2nd Lincolnshire 
therefore temporarily assumed command of the 25th Brigade, 
Major H.E.R. Boxer taking over command of the battalion. 

In the meantime the two companies of the Lincolnshire, 
ordered forward by General Lowry Cole before he was shot, suc- 
cessfully pushed through to the German lines, to the west of the 
1 3th Londons. The story of the 2nd Lincolnshire during the 
battle centres from this point almost entirely round C and D 
Companies. 

Captain BJ. Thruston (commanding C Company) went for- 
ward with the left party. He sent on first a blocking and bomb- 

94 



CORPORAL SHARPE WINS V.C. [mat^h,*^ 

ing party under 2nd Lieutenant E.O. Black. This gallant young 
officer succeeded in gaining the German trench and in clearing 
three hundred yards to the west, but his supply of bombs failed 
and he could go no further. The remainder of the party, follow- 
ing close behind Lieutenant Black, came under a very heavy fire 
from their right and left front, especially from the latter. Cap- 
tain Thruston, seeing this, gave instructions for a bombing party 
of the Scottish Rifles 1 to go forward and clear the trench to the 
east of the mine crater. This they did. 

By 9 a.m., men were being dribbled across to occupy, and put 
into a state of defence, the trench so cleared, but it was a perilous 
business and only a small proportion of those sent out reached 
their objective, the others being shot down. At one period 
Captain Thruston located two German machine-guns firing from 
beyond the crater and collecting five machine-guns, quickly 
silenced the enemy's guns. At 10.30 a.m. he reported that he 
was in possession of the German trench to the west of the mine 
crater and was awaiting further orders, but so great was the diffi- 
culty in communicating with him, owing to the ground between 
the opposing trenches being swept by enfilade machine-gun fire 
from hostile trenches further north-east (untouched by our guns), 
that it was 4 p.m. before an order could be got through to him 
directing him to bring his party back. Even then it was im- 
possible for him to move during daylight and not until four hours 
later (8 p.m.) could he begin to retire. He had, however, 
scarcely begun to move when from the flanks and rear he was 
attacked by the enemy. Hurling their bombs and with shouts 
the Germans tried to close in on his flanks and rear. Others 
poured out from the crater on his left front. Seeing his desperate 
situation and being without machine-guns or bombs, he ordered 
his men to get back to their own parapet as best they could. 
Many succeeded, but others fell, amongst them 2nd Lieutenant 
Black, who, first reported missing, was subsequently found to 
have been killed. 

Another party of A Company under Captain French (formerly 
under Major Boxer), who had apparently been lying out all day 
in No Man's Land, also withdrew to their own trenches under 
cover of darkness. Many gallant actions took place during that 
day of hard fighting and fortunately it is possible to preserve 
them as examples of the spirit of the Regiment under great trial. 

The first is that of Corporal Charles Sharpe, who gained the 
highest honour obtainable by a soldier — the Victoria Cross^ (inci- 
dentally the first gained by the Lincolnshire Regiment in the 
Great War). 

1 The 33rd Infantry Brigade had been asked for assistance and support for the 13th 
Londons, and the and Scottish Rifles had been sent up. 

95 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Corporal Sharpe was in charge of a small blocking party sent 
forward to take a portion of the trench. " He was the first to 
reach the enemy's position and using bombs with great deter- 
mination and effect, he himself cleared them out of a trench fifty 
yards long. By this time all his party had fallen and he was then 
joined by four other men, with whom he attacked the enemy 
again with bombs, and captured a further trench two hundred 
and fifty yards long." {Extract from citation in the London Gazette 
of 29th June^ 1 9 1 5.) Privates D. Bills, W. Donderdale and J.F. 
Leeman were each awarded the D.C.M. for going to Corporal 
Sharpe's assistance. 

Sergeant Brocklesby took command of a party of men who 
were lying exposed to extremely heavy rifle-fire and machine- 
gun flanking fire, and by his example and bravery succeeded in 
leading them forward and reinforcing a party in front already in 
possession of a German trench. He was severely wounded, but 
richly deserved the D.C.M. awarded to him. Another n.c.o. 
— Sergeant S. Clarke — gained a similar honour for leading his 
platoon to the German trenches in support of another regiment, 
losing heavily in so doing. Later on he went out under fire and 
cut the German barbed wire, thereby enabling the troops to 
retire. 

Private W. Cowling covered the retirement of a number of 
men by holding up the enemy in a hand-to-hand fight. He 
killed several and although his rifle was ultimately torn out of his 
hands, he made good his escape : he also was awarded the 
D.C.M. 

The action for which Private G. Kirby earned the D.C.M. 
was in the mine crater in which fifteen wounded and about one 
hundred other men were taking cover. The Germans threw a 
lighted bomb into the crater, but before it could burst Kirby 
picked it up and threw it out again. 

When darkness fell on the 9th May the 25th Brigade was 
relieved by the 23rd Brigade and moved back to the Croix Blanche 
area. The 2nd Lincolnshire reaching billets in Bac St. Maur at 
2 a.m. on the 10th of May. 

The losses of the 2nd Battalion in the Battle of Aubers Ridge 
were heavy. To the list of those officers who had been killed or 
wounded already mentioned, the names of Lieutenant H.M. 
Goldsmith (killed) and 2nd Lieutenant P.H. Parker (wounded) 
must be added : in other ranks the battalion lost twenty-eight 
killed and died of wounds, one hundred and seventy-two 
wounded, and seventy-seven missing. 

So far as the general results are concerned, the Battle must be 
written down as a failure, due not to any lack of courage, dogged 
determination and resolution on the part of the troops concerned, 
96 



BELLEWAARDE [JUNE l6TH , I$1S 

but to the strength of the enemy's positions, which were much 
more powerful than had been anticipated. Bomb-proof shelters, 
twenty-foot thick breastworks, had resisted much of the British 
artillery-fire and enabled the Germans to man their parapets and 
meet the assaulting troops with a deadly machine-gun and rifle- 
fire, whilst against the stream of bullets which swept No Man's 
Land, and not only No Man's Land, from the flanks, it was 
impossible to make headway. 

All honour to the gallant fellows who had fought their way 
into the enemy's trenches : which in itself was no small achieve- 
ment. 



VI 

THE FIRST ATTACK ON BELLEWAARDE : l6TH JUNE, 1915 

Between the Menin road and the Ypres-Roulers railway the 
German trenches formed a salient : they were the high-water 
mark of the enemy's advance during the Battles of Ypres 19 15. 
Behind his front line lay the Bellewaarde Ridge and the Lake, the 
former giving him excellent observation over the British defences. 
At the southern extremity of this salient Hooge, battered and 
ruined, lay between the opposing trenches. Just south of the 
Ypres-Roulers railway the eastern edges of Railway Wood were 
held by the Germans and the western edges by the British, whose 
line from Hooge ran along the southern side of the Menin road 
to just east of the Birr Cross Roads, thence parallel to and east 
of Cambridge Road to the angle formed by the road and the 
railway. A minor operation was planned by the V. Corps 
(Lieut.-General Sir E. Allenby), to improve the position by the 
capture of the ridge, which would deprive the enemy of observa- 
tion, and at the same time straighten out the re-entrant in the 
British line between Hooge and Railway Wood ; the actual 
assault was entrusted to the 7th and 9th Brigades of the 3rd 
Division, On the front of attack the enemy's trenches were 
about fifty yards distant in the centre and about two hundred on 
the flanks. To save the troops from being heavily shelled whilst 
waiting for the attack, the ground being under observation by the 
enemy, it was decided to attack at dawn. 

From the 6th to the 15th, preparations were made for the 
operations and the 1st Lincolnshire, with other units of the 9th 
Brigade, practised the attack. In view of the use of gas by the 
enemy, special attention was paid during this training to anti-gas 
devices. A new pattern smoke helmet, in addition to the some- 
what primitive respirator then in use, was issued to each man. 

h 97 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

This new device took the form of a hood made of grey flannel 
with a celluloid window. It fitted over the head, the end of the 
hood being tucked in the neck of the man's tunic. Thus only 
the air within the helmet could be breathed. The hood itself 
was kept damp with a solution of hyposulphate of soda, the air 
passing through the material being thus filtered of any poisonous 
gas. The heat was so great that the helmet had to be removed 
from time to time to avoid suffocation. 

When the orders for the attack were received the ist Lincoln- 
shire were still in bivouacs south of Brandhoek, 1 and at 4.15 
p.m. on the 15th of June the battalion left them for the assembly 



Westhoek 




Yards 



1ST ATTACK, BELLEWAARDE 



trenches at the southern end of Cambridge Road. This approach 
march entailed a long tramp eastwards through Kruisstraat and 
Ypres and along the railway track as far as Hell Fire Corner, thence 
down the Menin road to the Birr Cross Roads. By 1.15 a.m. 
on the 1 6th the battalion was in position, having lost four other 
ranks wounded during the march. 

The attack was divided into three stages : the first objective 
was the German front line ; the second the line of the road, from 
Hooge to Bellewaarde Farm ; the final one the trench on the 
edge of the Lake. After the first objective had been taken by 
the ist Line of the 9th Brigade, the 2nd Line was to go through 
it and capture the second objective, the artillery lifting from the 
first objective to the second objective at a fixed hour, but remain- 
ing on the second until ordered to lift. 

The bombardment commenced at 2.30 a.m., and continued 
with pauses until 4.15 a.m., when the artillery lifted and the ist 

1 Brandhoek is on the Poperinghe-Vlamertinghe road, four and a quarter miles -west 
of Ypres. 

98 



BELLEWAARDE 



[june i6th, 1915 



Line (4th Royal Fusiliers, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, and 
1 st Royal Scots Fusiliers) captured the German front line with 
very little resistance. The 2nd Line consisted of the i/ioth 
Liverpool Scottish and the 1st Lincolnshire. 1 What Germans 
were found alive were too dazed and demoralized by the terrific 
shell-fire through which they had passed to do anything but hold up 
their hands and surrender, glad to get away from the terrible sight 
of their dead and dying comrades and the ruin of their trenches. 
The Lincolnshire rushed forward in support of the Royal 
Fusiliers and reinforced their line. The attack then continued 
to advance, bombing parties forcing their way along the com- 




**h-*£ 



1ST ATTACK, BELLEWAARDE 



14.«t*2—f** • 



munication trench, driving the enemy at a run into his second- 
line trenches. 

The attack was covered on the right by rifle and machine-gun 
fire from the Wiltshires of the 7th Division, who had their trenches 
on the Menin road about midway between the ruins of Hooge 
and the Birr Cross Roads. On the left from the railway other 
troops belonging to the 6th Division assisted in a similar manner. 

The Lincolnshire and the Royal Fusiliers next seized a trench 
where the artillery had done its work extraordinarily well : the 
barbed-wire entanglements had been destroyed and the trenches 
themselves made absolutely untenable. Many dead Germans 

1 Official History, Vol. IV, f. 100. The Lincolnshire were on the right of the 2nd line. 
(An officer with the battalion.) 

99 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

were found amidst the debris, others were taken prisoner and 
passed back to the rear. 

The second stage of the attack now took place. Here again 
the guns had done their work admirably, for, with very few 
casualties, the Lincolnshire carried the trench by 4.30 a.m., 
driving the enemy out at the point of the bayonet. The infantry 
were working on a timed artillery programme, but were told that 
if the opposition was not too stiff to make their objective and send 
messages to the artillery to lift. When the Lincolnshire had got 
through the barrage, and on and beyond the second objective, 
the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel Boxer, ordered Major 
Boys to get on to the final objective, the western edge of Belle- 
waarde Lake, whilst he collected and turned some men who were 
going to the south of the Lake. He was not seen again. The 
trench at the final objective was only a split-locked trench, where 
the Lincolnshire were observed by a low-flying German aero- 
plane. No messages got back to our artillery, as very early after 
the attack commenced all telephone wires were cut by shell-fire, 
and when our guns lifted from the second objective " we got ten 
minutes of the very best," supplemented by the German guns 
shortly after the lift. There were many casualties, amongst them 
Lieut.-Colonel Boxer, whose body was never found, in spite of 
diligent search. The early morning mist, and smoke from the 
shells, prevented the artillery observers seeing the flags carried 
by the infantry to indicate their arrival on the various objectives 
and prevented visual signalling as well. 

The trenches now became crowded with men, units got mixed 
up, and it became almost impossible to organize or control the 
fight ; to add to the confusion, German artillery fire, very heavy 
and accurate, swept the battalions of the 3rd Division from three 
sides. A combat with bombs and bayonets in the network of 
trenches now ensued, and swayed backwards and forwards. 
About 7.30 a.m., the enemy made a definite counter-attack, which 
was repulsed, and two further attempts later in the day were 
broken up by fire : but at 9.30 a.m. still under heavy shell-fire, 
and with no bombs left, the attackers fell back to the first line 
of German trenches. 1 

At about 9.30 p.m., the 4th Gordons of the 8th Brigade arrived 
and began the relief of the 1st Lincolnshire, the survivors on 
handing over the trenches marching back to bivouacs at Red 
Wine Camp, south of Brandhoek, arriving at their destination at 
5 a.m. on 1 7th June. 

Many acts of gallantry were performed by all ranks of the 
battalion both during the attack itself and during the subsequent 
enemy bombardment. Sergeant F.J. Davis and Private E. 

1 See Official History, Vol. IF, p. 100, for explanation of the cause of the confusion . 

roo 



ist BATTALION TRANSFERRED [N0V . i 3 th, i 9 i 5 

Breeze gained D.C.M.'s for gallantry during the advance to the 
second German line. The former took command of the support- 
ing line of his company after all its officers had been killed or 
wounded, and rushed a portion of the German second line, 
capturing the trench and taking several prisoners. Private 
Breeze, collecting a few men, attacked a portion of the enemy's 
second line with bombs, destroyed two German machine-guns 
and took twelve prisoners. 

It was during the heavy bombardment that Private A. 
Cresswell, on his own initiative, moved from trench to trench 
dressing the wounded of all battalions, at the greatest risk to 
himself, exposed as he was continually to the enemy's fire. " His 
zeal and bravery were very marked " : his D.C.M. was indeed 
well earned. 1 

Back at Red Wine Camp, the battalion rested throughout the 
17th June. At midday a roll call was taken and it was found 
that the following casualties had been incurred during the 
fighting on the previous day : the CO., Lieut.-Colonel H.E.R. 
Boxer — first reported wounded and missing, Lieutenant F.C. 
Green and 2nd Lieutenant R.O. Pearson were killed. Captains 
J.R.G. Magrath, R.H. Spooner 2 and 2nd Lieutenant J.H.P. 
Barret were wounded : in other ranks the losses were twenty-two 
killed, three died of wounds, seventy-six missing and two 
hundred and sixty-five wounded, a total of three hundred and 
forty-two of all ranks. 

After the attack on Bellewaarde, described above, the ist 
Lincolnshire had a period in the trenches, not marked by any 
action recorded on the Colours, until the ist July, 19 16, when 
the Somme battles commenced. Part of this period was passed 
in the Ypres theatre of operations, sometimes in the trenches at 
Sanctuary Wood, where on the 30th June they were relieved by 
the 4th and 5th Lincolnshire. The Diary of the ist Battalion 
records the pleasure of all ranks at meeting their Territorial 
Battalions. At intervals the time was spent behind the line for 
rest and training. The usual record in the Diary was : " Con- 
ditions on our front normal," or " All quiet," but each day there 
was a tell-tale casualty list of killed and wounded. 

On the 13th November, the battalion left Winnezeelke, on 
transfer from the 9th Infantry Brigade to the 62nd in the 21st 
Division, in which it was to serve to the end of the war. The 
Brigade Commander addressed the battalion, expressing his 
regret at losing it, and it marched away ajong a road lined by 
cheering officers and men of the 10th Liverpool Scottish, and 

1 " Private A. Cresswell and an officer of the Liverpool Scottish were the bravest 
individuals I saw in action during this war." (Major de C. Boys.) 
2 Captain R.H. Spooner was the famous all-England cricketer and Rugby International. 

IOI 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

led by the Pipers of the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers as far as Steen- 
voorde, where the band of the 3rd Devons played the Battalion 
through the village. 

The object of the transfer was to stiffen the new formations 
now in France with seasoned, and experienced troops from the 
original divisions of the British Expeditionary Force. 

The first sub-sector taken over in the new brigade was at 
Houplines (one and a half miles north-west of Armentieres). 
Trenches deep in water, which lay all round, and No Man's 
Land dismal to contemplate. 

The battalion moved to the Somme area on the 31st March, 
1 9 1 6, but was out of the line to the north of Amiens engaged 
on work in preparation for the intended attack on the German 
positions, until towards the end of May it moved to trenches 
east of Albert, opposite Fricourt, which was in German hands. 
On the 4th June a raid from the " Tambour " was planned, but 
had to be abandoned, as the Germans shelled it with such effect 
that the commander of the raiding party, Captain K.J. Edmond- 
son, and Lieutenant G.K. Stevens, and four other ranks were 
killed, and seventeen wounded. During a tour in the line be- 
tween the 20th and 28th June, four other ranks were killed, 
four officers (Captain A.B.C. Parish, 2nd Lieutenants W.E. 
Bartram, J.E.N.P. Denning, and M. Churchouse) and forty 
other ranks were wounded. 

The casualties between the 17th June, 19 15, and the 30th 
June, 1916, were four officers killed, Captain J.D.D. Wickham, 
and Lieutenant L.H. Bowen, besides those named above, and 
twelve officers wounded, including those between the 20th and 
28th June. The names of the other eight are : Lieutenants 
H.C. Disbrowe and E.P. Nash, R.A.M.C, and 2nd Lieutenants 
H.J. A. Simpson, R. Rowlatt, H.B. Duncan, C.P. Sippe, Lieu- 
tenant J. Edes, 2nd Lieutenant C. Goodwood. In other ranks 
the casualties were : thirty-nine killed, and three hundred and 
fourteen wounded. 

The Diary for July contains mention of the award of the 
D.C.M. to Sergeant F.J. Davis, Private E. Breeze, and Private 
A. Cressweli for gallantry near Hooge, at the first attack on 
Bellewaarde, on the 16th June. Major H.E.R. Boxer's name 
appeared in the London Gazette of the 23rd June for the award of 
the D.S.O. a week after he was killed in action when in command 
of the 1st Battalion, in the action referred to above. 



102 



TO THE EVE OF LOOS [ MAR .~ SE pt., i 9 i S 
VII 

FROM MARCH 1 9 1 5" TO THE EVE OF THE BATTLE OF LOOS : 4TH, 
£TH AND 7TH BATTALIONS 

On the 1 st March the 4th and 5th (T.F.) Battalions of the 
Regiment disembarked at Havre. The 4th was commanded by 
Lieut.-Colonel J.W. Jessop, and the 5th by Lieut.-Colonel T.E. 
Sandall. Both battalions formed part of the 1 38th Brigade, 46th 
Division. Two or three days were spent at the Rest Camp, 
Havre, and then they travelled to Strazeele, arriving on the 9th. 

The 4th and 5th Lincolnshire, between the 9th and 26th of 
March, moved by stages to the front line. On arrival at Ploeg- 
steert they were attached to the nth Brigade (4th Division) for 
instruction in trench duties. The 4th Battalion had one man 
wounded on the 27th, which appears to have been their first 
casualty in France : the 5th had a man slightly wounded on the 
28th and a corporal killed the day following. On the 1st of 
April the 4th were in billets at Le Kirlem and the 5th at Steen- 
werck. A few days later both battalions moved to Dranoutre, 
and on the 9th into the front-line trenches, taking over a portion 
of the defences for the first time opposite Spanbrek Mollen. 

The first trenches held by a battalion always remained in the 
memory, and the trenches occupied by the Lincolnshire Terri- 
torials were in such a wretched condition that they remained a 
nightmare in the minds of the battalion for many a month. Two 
farms held by the 4th Battalion, i.e., Frenchman's and Pond 
Farms, were a constant target for the enemy's artillery, and on 
the 1 3th at the latter farm, 2nd Lieutenant G. Staniland and three 
other ranks were killed and six wounded by shell-fire. On the 
2 1st another officer of the same battalion — 2nd Lieutenant W.B. 
Hirst — was killed. 

The 5th Battalion Diary gives a detailed description of the 
condition of the trenches taken over on the 9th. Of one, dubbed 
" the worst trench of them all," it is recorded that " dead bodies 
are even half exposed in the parados " — not a cheerful prospect 
for troops almost fresh to trench warfare. On the 17th when 
the operations at Hill 60 were in progress the 5th Lincolnshire 
assisted by keeping the enemy's trenches under heavy fire. 
Captain T.S. Hadfield was wounded near Frenchman's Farm on 
the 19th April. On the 21st the battalion was back at Dran- 
outre. 

From the night of the 21st of April (the battalion being then 
in the trenches) until the 14th June, the 1 /4th Lincolnshire 
record little of outstanding interest. 

However, a great deal of work was carried out on the defences. 

103 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Dranoutre and Locre appear to have been the principal billeting 
areas. On the 1 3th of May, after first shelling the line and then 
pounding it with trench-mortar bombs, the Germans sent out a 
party against Gi and G2 Salients : they were easily repulsed, 
leaving one dead man in Gi, On the 1st of June Lieutenant 
C.H. Ellwood was killed. 

On the 4th June Colonel Jessop, commanding the 4th Bat- 
talion, Major Barrell and Major Cooper, left Locre and went 
to Kemmel village to see Colonel Jones, commanding the 5th 
Leicester, to arrange for the relief of his battalion, which was to 
take place two days later, reaching the village about 12.15 p.m. 
Colonel Jessop entered the Leicester Headquarters, whilst the 
other two went with Major Toller of the Leicesters to inspect the 
ration dump, etc. 

Heavy shells began falling in the village, and one dropped 
very near the Leicester Headquarters so Major Barrell and his 
companions returned to ascertain if the two Colonels were safe, 
and found that they had left the Headquarters as the shells had 
dropped too near to be pleasant. Then, apparently, they were 
caught in the open by another shell, which instantly killed 
Colonel Jessop, and wounded Colonel Jones. The three chargers 
of the Lincolnshire officers were killed, and the orderly was hit. 

Colonel Jessop was a great personality, and his untimely death 
was mourned not only by his own battalion but by the whole 
brigade. He was buried at Dranoutre on the 5th June. 1 

The records of the 1 /5th Battalion are more detailed than those 
of the 1 /4th ; even so, there is little in them of more than ordinary 
interest. One item, however, does deserve mention. Those 
who went through the agonies of the trenches will know full well 
the nerve-wracking tension occasioned by the knowledge that the 
enemy was preparing a mine which might go up at any 
moment beneath the trench in which they stood. This experi- 
ence fell to the lot of the 1 /5th Lincolnshire (for the first time) 
on the 26th of April. Suspicions were aroused on that date by 
muffled noises beneath the trench heard by the mining officer 
near Eil and confirmed on the 28th by sounds of voices under 
ground. But no further mention appears in the records until 
the 20th May when the inevitable result occurred : on that date 
at 3 p.m. the Germans blew the mine, killing eleven men and 
wounding twenty-two others of the 1 /5th Lincolnshire, four men 
also being " missing, believed killed." One officer (Lieutenant 
Dyson), who had been buried for fourteen hours in the debris, 
was recovered at 5 a.m. on the 21st, bruised, but sound and 
cheery. 

The next day suspicious noises were heard by R.E. officers 

1 This account was given by Major Oliver Cooper. 
IO4 



THE 4TH & 5TH AT YPRES [june-sept., 1915 

under Eil, as if a mining charge was being placed in position. 
On the 6th miners working in rear of Eil (which had been rebuilt 
since the explosion) discovered an enemy sap and heard the 
German sentry snoring. The R.E. then placed a charge of 
i^olbs. ammonal and fired it, destroying the enemy's gallery, but 
leaving our own intact. On the 15th of June, just before mid- 
night, the 1 /5th returned to bivouacs in Dranoutre. 

About the middle of June the 46th Division moved to the 
southern area of the Ypres Salient. The 4th Lincolnshire 
arrived at Ouderdom on the 22nd and went into bivouac until 
the 29th, when they moved forward to dug-outs in Sanctuary 
Wood and Maple Copse. The next day (as already mentioned) 
they relieved the 1st Lincolnshire and South Lanes, east of 
Sanctuary Wood. But little of interest is recorded until the 
28th of July, when the enemy blew up a sap in Ai and A2 
trenches and mortared the line at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. 2nd 
Lieutenant Maples was wounded, also two officers of other units, 
going round the line. The next afternoon at 4.15 p.m. Captain 
M. Staniland was killed. Lieutenant W.A. Fox was killed a 
little later. On the 30th the Germans attacked the British line 
near Hooge after a violent bombardment, and the projection of 
liquid fire. The trenches held by the Lincolnshire were kept 
under a very heavy trench-mortar, " whizz-bang " and rifle-fire : 
the battalion was not, however, engaged in the attack. On the 
1st of August the 4th mention the departure of a company of 
7th Lincolnshire which had been attached for instruction in 
trench warfare. 

The gth of August found the 4th in Zillebeke dug-outs (two 
companies) and the Barracks, Ypres (two companies). The 
enemy's artillery-fire was heavy on this date, 1 5-in. shells falling 
in Ypres, and the two companies there joined the others in 
Zillebeke dug-outs. On this date the trenches at Hooge were 
retaken, but the Lincolnshire were not engaged. On the 10th 
the 4th returned to the front line : on the 12 th Captain Hart was 
wounded. Another officer — Lieutenant L.A. Reed — was killed 
on the 27th August. Even in support and reserve casualties 
were frequent, for on the 2nd of September seven men were 
killed and five wounded as the result of the enemy's bombard- 
ment of the Embankment dug-outs, which lay well behind the 
front line. 

The 3rd of September saw the battalion back in the front line : 
this was a most uncomfortable tour, for the elements seemed to 
conspire with the enemy to make the trenches unbearable. For 
three days the men were wet through by the heavy rain. Shell- 
fire was heavy, during which another officer (2nd Lieutenant 
Edmondson) was wounded. After moving back out of the line 

105 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

on the 8th to huts west of Dickebusch, Lieut.-Colonel C.E. 
Heathcote, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, arrived and 
assumed command of the battalion on the ioth. During the 
next tour (from the 1 5th to the 2 1st of September) casualties were 
heavier amongst other ranks. On the 20th the guns began a 
methodical bombardment of the enemy's trenches, in co-opera- 
tion with similar actions all along the line as a preliminary to the 
Battle of Loos. The enemy's reply was vigorous, and the front- 
line trenches came in for a very heavy gruelling. On the 24th 
the 4th Lincolnshire were in Brigade Reserve in Kruistraat 
dug-outs, Railway Embankment and Deeping dug-outs. 

The 1 /5th were not relieved from the trenches east of Kemmel 
until the 21st of June, when they moved back to Dranoutre, and 
on the 22nd moved to Ouderdom. On the 29th the battalion 
at 7 p.m. marched to trenches " situated south of Hooge, east 
of Ypres. Wooded country. Trenches form part of the famous 
Ypres Salient." These were apparently support trenches, for 
on the 30th at 7 p.m., the 1 /5th took over a trench from the 1st 
Lincolnshire and one from the 4th Fusiliers. As a welcome to 
a new sector, crumps fell in the south-west corner of Sanctuary 
Wood, killing two men. 

The six days which followed were strenuous, the enemy s 
" whizz-bangs " caused a great deal of damage, the battalion 
snipers completely silenced the enemy's snipers : the opposing 
guns engaged in heavy duels, in all of which more or less the 
unfortunate infantry in the front line became involved. There 
was one part of the line — No. 9 — which had a particular attrac- 
tion for the enemy's gunners. It was blown to bits more than 
once. On the 4th July the casualty list was heavy : one other 
rank killed, one officer (2nd Lieutenant Binns) and ten other 
ranks wounded. Each day there were several casualties. The 
next tour (1 3th / 1 9th July) was also lively. Captain Ingoldby was 
wounded on the 14th, On the 1 2th of August the Diary records 
" very short of Very lights and have to rely on the Germans to 
oblige:" The 'next day a box of lights arrived " so more 
' strafing ' can be done." 

Casualties during this tour were on the increase, i.e., twenty- 
eight killed and wounded from the ioth to the 1 6th. The latter 
night is written down as quiet. Perhaps too quiet for the enemy, 
who seems to have been suspicious, and opened heavy rifle-fire at 
2.30 a.m. " This," records the Diary, " was no doubt done to 
draw our fire and thereby disclose our strength. Fire was not 
drawn, A few grenade and trench-mortar bombs were des- 
patched to enemy to remind them that we were still alive and 
willing to do a bit of ' strafing ' too." The 1 /5th were relieved 
that night and returned to Zillebeke Lake dug-outs. 
106 



THE 7<th LINCOLNSHIRE AT YPRES DutT , r 9 i 5 

September opened with "wretched weather : rain reduced the 
trenches to mud alleys : parapets began to fall in and work was 
in consequence very heavy, not only when in support and reserve, 
but in the front line also. The damage done by the enemy's 
shell-fire was frequently extensive. On the i yth> for instance, it 
is reported that our heavies having bombarded the enemy's line, 
the latter retaliated : " Whizz-bangs everywhere : rifle pits 
were badly knocked about by ' crumps '." And then follows an 
excellent comment on conditions in the front line : " One wishes 
at times that troops who have been having a restful time for 
months on end 1 might relieve us in this ghastly salient. An 
officer from Armentieres direction was overheard by an officer 
of ours who was proceeding on leave to England the other day 
to say to another officer, also from the same direction : ' Do you 
know, we had several of those nasty whizz-bangs over us the 
other day, they were quite dreadful' If only they could come 
here and learn that for every whizz-bang that went over him we 
got about fifty ' crumps ' : one looks upon whizz-hangs as gnats 
round here ! " 

On the 1 7th the enemy's shell-fire was terrific : at least six 
hundred " crumps " were put over and countless hundreds of 
whizz-bangs. The damage done to the trenches was very 
great, but casualties were miraculously small, i.e., one killed, two 
wounded and one " shock " from being buried. Our " heavies " 
had failed to respond to calls for support and the Diary has a 
" grouse " : " If some of the ' office ' officers who arrange bom- 
bardments but never seem to realise there is such a thing as 
retaliation would only spend a day in the trenches (at " II. 
Army Hotel," i.e. Battalion Headquarters) while the enemy is 
bombarding them, then perhaps they would see the necessity for 
artillery support." On the 24th of September the 5th 
Lincolnshire were back out of the line at Zillebeke. 

Meanwhile another battalion of the Regiment, the 7th (Service) 
Battalion of the 51st Brigade, 17th Division, disembarked at 
Boulogne from Folkestone on the 14th of July. On the 19th 
the battalion reached billets in Eecke, and two days later a party 
of five officers visited the trenches near Ypres for instruction. 
The Brigade to which the 7th Lincolnshire belonged was in 
Corps Reserve, but very soon began its apprenticeship in trench 
warfare. On the 27th B Company went into the trenches of 
the 138th Brigade, 46th Division, and there met the Territorial 
battalions of the Regiment. The next day three men were killed 
and four wounded — first casualties. From the 28 th to the 3 1st 
(inclusive) four men were killed and sixteen wounded. 

On coming out of the trenches east of Ypres the battalion 

1 There vrere not many having a " restful time " in France and Flanders at this period. 

I07 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

moved to bivouacs west of Kruisstraat, thence to huts on the 
Vlamertinghe-Ouderdom road. The battalion first took over a 
sub-sector of the front line on the 14th of August near 
Voormezeele. This tour appears to have been expensive, for 
when the Lincolnshire were relieved on the 26th and moved back 
to La Clytte and Reninghelst, they had lost nine other ranks 
killed and thirty-seven wounded. 

In another tour in the front line, in the same sub-sector, from 
the 3rd to the nth September, Major W.L. Crawford was 
wounded on the 7th and 2nd Lieutenant J.K. Brice-Smith on 
the 9th : the latter died of wounds on the 10th. Another officer 
— 2nd Lieutenant H.A. Padley — was wounded on the 19th of 
September. Conditions in the front line on the 20th, 21st and 
22nd are described as very quiet, until on the latter date our 
guns began a heavy bombardment of the German line, with the 
result that the enemy's retaliation was violent. The 23rd and 
24th were also noisy for all along the line the British artillery 
were engaged in shelling the enemy's trenches, in order to 
deceive him as to the point of the attack to be launched on the 
25th of September. 

In their trenches at Voormezeele, the 7th Lincolnshire on the 
25th September fired " fifteen rounds rapid " in order to deceive 
the enemy that they were about to attack. 

According to the War Diaries, the casualties of the 4th, 5th 
and 7th Battalions, between the 13th March and 25th September, 
1 9 1 5, were : 

\th Battalion — killed : officers, Col. Jessop, Capt. M. Staniland, 
Lieuts. G, Staniland, W.B. Hirst, C.H. Ellwood, W.A. Fox, and 
L.H. Reed ; other ranks, ten. Wounded : officers, Capts. 
B.C. Thompson and Hart, 2nd Lieut. Edmondson. Other 
ranks, twenty-two. 

$th Battalion — killed : officers none ; other ranks, forty-three. 
Wounded: officers, Capts. Hadfield, Ingoldby, Lowe, 2nd 
Lieuts. Disney, Binns and Bott ; other ranks, two hundred and 
seventeen ; missing, four. 

7th Battalion — casualties from the 18th June to the 25th 
September : Died of wounds, 2nd Lieut. J.K. Brice-Smith ; 
wounded, Major W.L. Crawford, 2nd Lieut. H.A. Padley ; 
other ranks : killed, twenty-one, wounded, one hundred and 
eight. 



108 



LOOS [sept. 25TH, 1915 

VIII 

THE BATTLE OF LOOS .* 25TH SEPTEMBER-8TH OCTOBER, 1915 

The attack at Loos was forced on the British Commander-in- 
Chief, Sir John French, after conferences with French Higher 
Command continued for many weeks, by the general situation 
of the Allies, in Europe and especially in Russia, and by the local 
situation in France, It was undertaken with forces which in his 
judgment were inadequate, and over ground which was unfavour- 
able. Acting on instructions received from the Secretary of 
State for War, Sir John French informed General Joffre, on the 
22nd August, that the First Army would attack with all the re- 
sources at its disposal, south of La Bassee Canal, supported by 
about eight hundred guns. General Joffre said that, owing to 
the Russian situation he wished the assaulting troops, both 
French and English, to be ready by the 8th September. The 
date of the attack was postponed later, owing to the time required 
for the French preparations for the offensive in Champagne. If 
successful a break-through was to be followed by a general 
offensive of all the French and British Armies on the Western 
front intended to compel the Germans to retreat beyond the 
Meuse and possibly end the war. {See Official History, Vol. IV, 
pp. 113 and 119.) 

The main assault, between Lens and La Bassee Canal, was to 
be carried out by the First Army under General Haig, with the 
I. Corps (Gough) and the IV. Corps (Rawlinson). Subsidiary 
attacks were to be made north of the canal by the Indian and 
III. Corps. Sir John French decided to retain a general 
reserve in his own hands consisting of the XI. Corps (Haking), 
and two cavalry corps, British and Indian. The 8th Lincolnshire 
was serving in the XI. Corps, in' the 63rd Brigade of the 21st 
Division. The 21st Division, as well as the 24th, also in the 
Corps, were recently from England, and neither had previous 
experience in France. 

The battle commenced at 5 a.m. on the 25th September and 
the IV. Corps, south of the Vermelles-Hulluch road, at the 
cost of very heavy casualties, passed the first German trenches, 
west of Loos, and reached the Lens-La Bassee road, east of Loos, 
and even Bois Hugo beyond it. The 21st and 24th Divisions 
from the XI. Corps, the General Reserve, came into the battle 
as described below, but the hoped-for break through the German 
line did not take place, for reasons which will appear. _ 

Only one battalion — the 8th (Service) Battalion— of the Lin- 
colnshire Regiment, of the 63rd Brigade, 2 1st Division, took part 
in the main operations, though the 1 /4th and 1 /5th (Territorial) 

109 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Battalions were behind the line during part of the battle 
in reserve, and later were actively engaged on the 1 3th October 
at the Hohenzollern Redoubt. These two battalions were on 
the 25th September in the Ypres Salient, and the 1 /5th took part 
in fire demonstrations, carried out to assist the operations in the 
main theatre of the battle. The 2nd Battalion was engaged in 
the subsidiary attack in the action of Bois Grenier. 

In the 2 1 st Division the 8 th (Service) Battalion of the Lincoln- 
shire Regiment, the 8th Somerset Light Infantry, the 12th West 
Yorkshire and the 10th York and Lancaster formed the 63rd 
Brigade. The 21st Division had landed in France scarce four- 
teen days previously (7th-iith September). Quite inexperi- 
enced and lacking in that knowledge of the enemy's methods 
which other divisions had gained both in battle operations and 
trench warfare, it may be said that the Division as a whole had 
never been under fire. These details should be borne in mind, 
for they are essential in anything like a fair estimate of the action 
of the 2 1 st Division in the operations in which it was about to 
take part. 

The 8th Lincolnshire (Lieut-Colonel H.E. Walter, x com- 
manding) embarked at Southampton on the night ioth-nth 
September. The battalion reached Boulogne early on the morn- 
ing of the 1 1 th. At 4 p.m., the same afternoon, the Lincolnshire 
entrained for the Watten area (where the 21st Division was con- 
centrating) and went into billets at Bayenghem. 

For a week the Lincolnshire remained in the Watten area and 
then, on the night 20th /21st September the 21st Division set 
out on that long approach march which was only to end (as Sir 
John French said) " within three miles of our original trenchline." 
On the night of the 20th /21st September the 8th Battalion 
bivouacked in a field at Racquingham. They rested all day on 
the 2 1 st, but set out again during the evening of the latter date 
and, marching all night, reached Norrent Fontes at 1.30 a.m. 
on the 22nd, where they bivouacked again. On the evening of 
22nd the battalion matched to Cauchy. Here quite good billets 
were found until the evening of the 24th, when the battalion left 
Cauchy and bivouacked about two miles west of Noeux les Mines 
at about 1.30 a.m. on the 25th September. It was a cold wet 
night and the noise of the guns, then engaged in bombarding the 
enemy's trenches, disturbed the troops so that few slept. 

At about 10 a.m. orders came to move. Progress was pain- 
fully slow, for the roads were congested with traffic of all sorts : 
transport wagons and ambulances, walking wounded and German 
prisoners — all combined to make the march a trying one. East 
of Noeux les Mines the Lincolnshire halted for some time, close 

1 Formerly Adjutant of the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. 
IIO 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [ SEPT . * 5 th, i 9 i 5 

to a heavy battery and came under long-range shell-fire. The 
march was resumed and at about 4 p.m. the battalion passed 
through Vermelles . Signs of the battle were gradually becoming 
more frequent. British wounded, carried on stretchers or limp- 
ing painfully along the roads, German prisoners, sullen and 
defiant-looking, were streaming westwards. Near Vermelles a 
large body of cavalry was halted, waiting to go through when the 
orders came for them to do so. 

From Vermelles the road led south-east along which, for 
nearly three-quarters of an hour, the battalion, tired, wet 
through and hungry, trudged in the direction of Loos. The 
troops were not marching " light " : full equipment was carried 
by both officers and men, even to great coats, which in the 
drenching rain gradually became heavier. 1 At about 5 p.m. the 
battalion with other units of the 63 rd Brigade, reached Fosse 
No. 7 and again halted. For three hours the Brigade waited in 
this position, battalions lying down on the northern side of the 
road. At 8 p.m. orders came for the advance : the Brigade was 
to advance to a point east of the Loos-La Bassee road, moving 
thence eastwards to the main Hulluch-Loos road, the final 
objective of the Brigade being Annay. 

But the road Fosse 7 was so terribly congested with traffic of 
all kinds that it was 8.45 p.m. before the whole Brigade was able 
to move. The Lincolnshire and Somerset Light Infantry de- 
ployed and advanced across country, whilst the West Yorkshire 
and York and Lancaster took a devious route by road. The Lin- 
colnshire relieved some of the 15th Division between 7 and 8 p.m. 

The Lincolnshire were on the extreme left of the 2 1st Division 
and having with the Somersets deployed, advanced in echelon 
formation eastwards. That advance was difficult. _ Carried out 
in pitch darkness, first across the old British front line and then 
over the original front-line German trenches, battered and ruined 
as they were by shell-fire, and littered with dead and dying. For 
three hours the Lincolnshire pushed on, stumbling into shell- 
holes, falling over inert bodies of the dead ; on all sides, so it 
seemed, the rattle of rifle and machine-gun fire, the screaming of 
shells and loud explosions. 

At one point the battalion topped a rise in the ground and the 
following is a description given by 2nd Lieutenant F. Cragg, 
of the 8 th Lincolnshire, of the sight which broke upon his view : 

" As we got to the crest-line, now free from obstruction, we 
could see the countryside slightly, and what a sight met our eyes ! 
Right ahead of us was Loos in flames, this was the glare that 
puzzled us : the twin towers of the big mine standing out like 

1 There was an impression that organized resistance was not to be expected, so great- 
coats and extra rations were ordered to be carried. (Official History, Vol. IF, p. 284.) 

Ill 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

great oil towers on a burning oil field. To the right and left 
were the horrors of war. Close by a German, badly wounded, 
called for ' wasser.' I stopped and gave him some, but it would 
not be long before he joined his comrades. In the communica- 
tion trench on our left more dead by the score . . ." 

The Commanding Officer, Adjutant and Company Com- 
manders were given a compass bearing to march on and by 1 1 
p.m. the Lincolnshire had cleared the last line of old German 
trenches. So far as they knew, only open country lay before 
them. They then lay down for a considerable time apparently 
to allow the other troops to come up. 

Confronted with a difficult situation on unknown ground, 
not having been in action before, without guidance from the 
Commanders and Staffs who had been in the sector and had 
studied its features for months past, it is not surprising that this 
night march was most trying to all ranks. (See Official History, 
Vol IV, p. 284.) 

The difficult nature of that advance will be appreciated from 
the fact that the two support companies of Somersets on the 
immediate right of the Lincolnshire, went astray in the darkness 
•and fetched up with the 46th Brigade on Hill 70 between Chalet 
Wood and Hill 70 Redoubt. After waiting some time, the 
Brigade Commander decided to push on. 

About 12 midnight 25th September there came a sudden burst 
of rifle and machine-gun fire apparently from a wood (Chalk Pit 
Wood) on our right front. 1 The wood was cleared by A Com- 
pany, which suffered considerable loss. D Company on the left, 
supported the right flank in their attack and then formed up about 
fifty yards to the north of Chalk Pit Wood, whence it moved east 
across the Lens— La Bassee Road. Here were some rough 
trenches (not shown on the map) which had been begun 
by some details of other battalions. The remainder of 
the night was spent in improving these trenches (which were 
practically nothing but shallow holes dug that afternoon in 
hard chalky soil) with the entrenching tools. 

Chalk Pit Wood and the Chalk Pit itself were about a mile 
north-east of Loos : they lay west of the Lens-Hulluch road. 
About a quarter of a mile south (also west of the road) was the 
Keep, Puits No. 14 bis. The Bois Hugo lay opposite the Keep, 
i.e., on the eastern side of the road, an oblong shaped mass of 
trees on an east and west line. Opposite the Chalk Pit was a 
house along the western side of the road, which the Brigadier 
had selected as Brigade Headquarters. 

When dawn broke on the 26th September the disposition of 

1 The fire actually came from Hill 70 or even beyond it. (Official History, Vol. IV, 
p. 291.) 

112 



LOOS 



[sept. 26th, 191 5 



the 8th Lincolnshire and other units of the 63rd Brigade was as 
follows : A, B and C Companies of the Lincolnshire held an east 
to west line, east of the Lens-Hulluch road and along the southern 
edge of Bois Hugo and facing Hill 70, three companies of the 
West Yorks were on the left of the Lincolnshire facing east : the 
fourth company (D) of the Lincolnshire, with the remaining 
company of the West Yorks were in reserve in the angle formed 
by the front line : the Somersets (less two companies) were 
between the western side of the Lens-Hulluch road and the 
Chalk Pit Wood, while the York and Lancaster, who by this 
time had joined, carried the-Brigade line along the road north of 




the Chalk Pit : but the left flank was entirely in the air. The 
German trenches ran from Hill 70 in a north-easterly direction 
past the eastern edge of Bois Hugo. 

At about 8.15 a.m. the three companies of Lincolnshire along 
the southern edge of the Bois Hugo, opened rapid rifle-fire, 
which lasted for probably fifteen minutes. Their targets were 
Germans who had been forced to retire across the northern slopes 
of Hill 70 in full view. At from four to eight hundred yards, 
range the Lincolnshire did considerable execution. 

In firing, however, they disclosed their position to the enemy's 
artillery and soon shrapnel began to burst over the trench with 
the result that one man was killed and four officers (Captain E.M. 
Harrison and 2nd Lieutenants F.G. Haldwell, M.G. Rowcroft 
and H. Mather) and about fifty other ranks were wounded. 

The Brigade was to attack the enemy at 1 1 a.m., but no written , 
orders were issued to battalion commanders : they were told to 

1 T13 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

attack in an easterly direction. The Lincolnshire made one big 
attack about 6.30 a.m., and advanced about seven hundred yards, 
but were pushed back some four hundred yards by the enemy 
about 10.30 a.m., owing to lack of support. At 9.30 a.m. 
Colonel Walter " reported verbally to the Brigadier that the 
situation was distinctly unfavourable : that the Germans were 
pushing through in large numbers and suggesting we should ask 
for support." 1 

From 7.30 a.m. till 10 a.m. hostile shell-fire was directed on the 
whole position, but between the latter hour and 10. 1 5 it suddenly 
increased in intensity and the Germans attacked. Although the 
Divisional artillery made good practice against the enemy, his 
troops about 2 p.m. worked steadily through the eastern portion 
of the Bois Hugo. Then suddenly there was a heavy rush of 
hostile troops. 

The enemy debouched from both sides of the Bois Hugo simul- 
taneously, attacking both A, B and C Companies of the Lincoln- 
shire and the three companies of the battalion on the left. The 
trenches of the latter were quickly overwhelmed, and the sur- 
viving occupants fell back in a confused mass to the support 
trench. Similarly, on the right, A, B and C fell back through 
the Wood. The three companies of the Lincolnshire retired in 
perfect order to the support trench, losing heavily both from our 
own and the enemy's shell-fire. The trench was not nearly long 
or deep enough to accommodate the troops, many of whom fell 
back to a sheltering line of trenches west of the Lens-Hulluch road. 

Hand-to-hand fighting took place and Captain L.D.McN. 
Davis led two or three bayonet charges, but without success. 
Here Lieut.-Colonel H.E. Walter was shot down whilst gallantly 
calling on his men to go forward with him and attack the enemy. 
" He stood," said 2nd Lieutenant Cragg, " not knowing what 
fear was in the midst of a hot fire at close range, forty yards off, 
calling on us to charge. Just as he led us he fell" Greatly 
beloved by all ranks of the battalion for his fine soldierly qualities, 
his loss was sorely felt. 

Two companies, A and B, supported by C and D, attacked 
about 4.30 p.m., and A Company re-took part of Bois Hugo. 
At 5.30 p.m. the Germans attacked again and A Company lost 
2nd Lieutenant Welsh killed. Lieutenants Reynolds and Hall 
wounded and forty casualties in other ranks. 

The enemy was now in complete possession of the Bois Hugo 
and of the trenches which had been occupied by A, B and C 
Companies of the Lincolnshire and the three front-line companies 
of the West Yorks : only the trench which held the two support 
companies of both battalions resisted capture, and although the 

1 Narrative with the 63rd Brigade Diary. 
II 4 



LOOS 



[sept. 26th, 1915 



Germans tried to rush it they were beaten back again and again. 
They then brought up a machine-gun, which they placed on the 
right under cover of the Bois Hugo and from this position 
enfiladed the support trench. 

" Communication was extremely difficult as the holes (which 
had been dug with entrenching tools) were not connected up 
throughout the whole length of the trench. In order to com- 
municate with those on the right therefore, we had either to pass 
verbal messages or to throw written messages on from one hole 
to the next At about midday, in this way I found that Lieu- 
tenants Hall and van Someran were the only officers of the 







GERMAN COUNTER-ATTACK, BOIS HUGO 



battalion left. Captain Davis and Lieutenant Faulkner were both 
in the trench, but very badly wounded, and nothing was known 
of any of the others. . . . We were, of course, in a very 
awkward position, but the men had all been very cheery ; they 
thought, as a result of the fighting on the 25th, that the enemy 
were really ' on the run ' and at first we thought that all we 
had to do was to ' sit tight ' until the main attack developed 
at 11 a.m., and then go forward with it. However, 11 a.m. 
came, but no sign of British troops." {Lieutenant J. H. Alcock.) 
The gallant little band of Lincolnshire and other troops who 
held the support trench were practically surrounded and their 
position as the day wore on was growing steadily worse. At 
about 5.30 p.m., the enemy from Bois Hugo rushed the 
southern portion of the trench, the occupants being unable to 

1^5 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

put up any further resistance, retired, A Company only having 
two n.c.o.s and twenty men left. One officer who was taken 
prisoner, finding that Colonel Walter still lived 1 , was able to go 
to him and give him a drink of water. 

The few officers and men wounded or unwounded who sur- 
vived the attack, withdrew to about one thousand yards of old 
German front line, where the Guards relieved them about 4 a.m. 
on the 2.7th. The Brigade narrative states that " subsequently 
small parties of the Brigade withdrew to the (old) German front- 
line trenches, the remainder of the Brigade apparently retired 
straight back beyond Divisional Headquarters. On the follow- 
ing morning (27th September) the remainder of the Brigade 
finally concentrated in the bivouac area about half a mile north- 
west of Noyelles-les-Vermelles." 

The casualties of the 8 th Lincolnshire in this, their first battle 
were terrible. No less than twenty-two officers had been killed, 
wounded or taken prisoner. 8 In other ranks the total losses were 
four hundred and seventy-one killed, wounded or missing, of whom 
one hundred and forty-eight were killed or died of wounds. 

On the 28 th September the battalion left Vermelles and moved 
by road and rail to Linghem, leaving that place on 1st October 
and marching to Steenbecque. The next day another march 
brought the Lincolnshire to Boore, where they billeted until the 
1 3th of the month ; here Major R.H.G. Wilson from the 2nd 
Lincolnshire, arrived and assumed command. 

The 8 th Battalion moved to Strazeele on the 15th October, 
and on the 28 th to billets in Armentieres, where it was employed 
by the Commanding Royal Engineer, 50th Division, for work 
on trench defences. By the end of the month the strength of 
the battalion was twenty-three officers, and six hundred and three 
other ranks. It took over a sector of the front line on the 13th 
November, and on the 31st December was in billets in Armen- 
tieres. The spring of 1 9 1 6 was passed in periodical tours in the 
trenches, during which Captain G.E.L. Bowlby, Lieutenant 
J.E.C. Fairweather, and 2nd Lieutenant R.B. Love were killed, 
and Captain D.A. Jones and 2nd Lieutenant S. Phillips wounded. 
On the 31st March the battalion went by train to Longeau, 
whence it marched first to Allonville, and then, on the 8th April, 
to Buire, on the River Ancre, four miles south-west of Albert, 

*He died of his wounds in German hands on 29th September, 1915. 

2 Killed: Major J.Y. Storer, Capt. and Adjutant J. Topham, Captains S.G. Stromquist 
and H. Coates, Lieutenants L, Falkner and P.C.W. Bosworth, 2nd Lieutenants J.H.R. 
Hanning, H.H. Jacobs, J.E.H. Welch and A.W. Bosworth ; wounded : Lieut.-Colonel 
H.E. Walter, and died of wounds, Captain E.M. Harrison, Lieutenant F.G. Haldwell, 
2nd Lieutenants F.H. Mather and J.J. Cragg ; missing : Captain L.D. McNaught Davis, 
Lieutenants J.W. Reynolds, G.W. Parker (died of wounds 29/9/15) and M.A. Hall, 
2nd Lieutenants E.C. van Someran, J.H. Alcock and M.G. Rowcroft. 
Il6 



BOIS GRENIER [sept. 25TH, 1915 

whence it furnished large working parties. On the 14th it 
moved to support positions about Becordel-Becourt village, where, 
till the 22nd, much work was done on the forward trenches. 

The 1st Battalion relieved the 8th on the 22nd May in the 
right sector of the line opposite Fricourt, the latter moving to 
La Neuville, opposite Corbie, on the Ancre. 

At the end of June the 8 th was detailed to support the 8 th 
Somersets in the attack on the German positions on the 1st July, 
and, on the 30th June, moved to Assembly Trenches near 
Becordel-Becourt village. 

Between the 26th September, 1915, and the 30th June, 19 16, 
in addition to the officers already named, Major Taylor and 2nd 
Lieutenants F.L. Gooseman and Smith were wounded. In 
other ranks the total casualties in the same period were : killed 
or died of wounds, thirty ; wounded, one hundred and ten. 



IX 

THE ACTION OF BOIS GRENIER, 2j"TH SEPTEMBER 

After the Battle of Aubers the 2nd Lincolnshire spent some 
months in the Laventie area, either in the trenches or in billets. 
In the trenches life was strenuous, shelling, sniping, and trench- 
mortaring was almost constant. The casualties of the battalion 
after the Battle of Aubers to the eve of the Action of Bois Grenier 
were 2nd Lieutenant W.M. Robertson, missing off patrol and 
died, and 2nd Lieutenant Ross wounded. In other ranks the 
losses were twenty-four killed, and ninety-two wounded. 

The latter part of August was spent in Sailly, a welcome relief ; 
but the battalion was back in the trenches at Bois Grenier in 
September, and received orders for attack in the Action of Bois 
Grenier, when it was in Bac St. Maur towards the end of the 
month. 

In order to distract the enemy's attention from the main opera- 
tions at Loos, and hold his troops to their ground along other 
parts of the front, subsidiary attacks took place at Le Bridoux, 
Pietre, and Bellewaarde Farm, east of Ypres. In the first of 
these, known officially as the action of Bois Grenier, the 8 th 
Division attacked the enemy, the 2nd Lincolnshire being engaged 
in the operations opposite the small village of Le Bridoux, which 
lay in the German lines. 

The assault was made by three battalions of the 25th Brigade 
on a front of twelve hundred yards between Corner Fort and 
Bridoux Fort, two works in the German front line. This was 

ii7 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

comparatively straight ; but the British front line formed a 
pronounced salient towards the German line, where the Bois 
Grenier— Bridoux road passes .through it, and a corresponding 
re-entrant between this road, and a point in our line opposite 
Corner Fort. 

At 6.55 p.m. on the 24th September the and Lincolnshire 
left billets in Bac St. Maur for assembly positions on the left of 
the Brigade sector. The Lincolnshire companies took post as 
follows : 

B Company (Captain Barker) in Assembly Trenches on the 
right (east) of the Bois Grenier-Bridoux road. 

A Company (Captain French) on the left of B, in rear of the right 
half of the salient. 

C Company (Captain Griffin) held the fire parapet of the 
salient with two platoons, and had two platoons in trenches three 
hundred and fifty yards in rear. 

D Company (Captain Hoskyns) in Assembly Trenches to the 
left (west) of the road. 

The frontage allotted to the Lincolnshire was approximately 
two hundred and seventy-five yards, one hundred and twenty 
yards to the east of the road, and one hundred and fifty-five to 
the west of it. The 2nd Royal Berkshire were on the right of 
the Lincolnshire, and the 2nd Rifle Brigade on the right of the 
line. The distance between our front trench and the German 
was about one hundred yards opposite Corner Fort, and Fort 
Bridoux, and about two hundred in the centre of the re-entrant. 
The space in the salient was so restricted that the Lincolnshire 
were much crowded. 

At 4.25 a.m. the artillery opened fire on the German first and 
second-line trenches, and covered both flanks. Two field guns 
were placed in the front-line trench with instructions to open 
rapid fire on the enemy's trench one hundred yards away just 
before the infantry attack. The result was to draw all available 
hostile fire on the salient for the rest of the day, making com- 
munication and movement almost impossible. The two guns 
and their crews were very soon obliterated. Sheltered by the 
fire the assaulting battalions crept forward and at 4.30 a.m. they 
charged.^ Corner Fort was captured immediately by the 2nd 
Rifle Brigade, while in the centre the Berkshire carried the 
German line between the Lozenge and the 5th Point : they failed, 
however, to capture The Angle owing to heavy machine-gun fire. 
On the left a sunken mine, running from the Lincolnshire 
trenches across No Man's Land to the German lines, was 
exploded. This mine had been sunk in order that the excavation 
caused by the explosion might provide a communication trench 
after the enemy's lines had been taken. The mine " went up " 
118 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [«*«.. »sth, i 9 i 5 

at 4.29 a.m. One minute later the Lincolnshire swarmed across 
No Man's Land. 

The spirit of the battalion is shown in the following incident : 
before reaching the enemy's parapet a man fell to the ground, 
shot through the chest — he was thought to be dead. Some time 
later he was observed minus his tunic, groaning painfully but 
dragging himself over the enemy's parapet. Such as his indo- 
mitable pluck and courage that he wanted to be with his com- 



^ al ' H 



Armentieres 




Scale 



"^-^-Aubers 



BOIS GRENIER 



rades and join in the fight. He stumbled over into the trench, 
was then picked up by stretcher-bearers and hurried back across 
No Man's Land to the first aid station. But nothing could be 
done for him and he died shortly afterwards. 

On the left D Company, led by Captain Hoskyns, rushed the 
Bridoux Fort and immediately gained a footing in it. On 
reaching the German front line, touch was lost with the Berk- 
shire on the right. Lieutenant Leslie, collecting a party, and 
with bomb and bayonet, attacked along the German trench, 
fighting his way from traverse to traverse, in a most gallant and 
determined fashion, till touch was gained with the Berkshire. 
He was awarded the Legion of Honour. 

119 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Eighty Germans were taken prisoners in the fort and many 
more were killed in the neighbourhood. By 8 a.m. the Lincoln- 
shire and Berkshire had gained touch and the German front-line 
trench was held from the western end of the Lozenge to the 
eastern end of Bridoux Fort. The Rifle Brigade held Corner 
.Post and the front line thence for about two hundred yards east 
of it. But the gap between the Rifles and the Berkshire was 
never captured. 

The enemy now launched violent counter-attacks and the 
pressure on D Company became severe. A platoon of A Com- 
pany was therefore sent to assist the former : part of two com- 
panies of the Royal Irish Rifles also came up and for the time 
being the pressure was relieved. Another hostile counter-attack 
on the Fort was made by the enemy, and on this occasion the 
situation became critical. The supply of bombs had run out, 
and the gallant Lincolnshire, attacked practically on all sides, 
were forced out of the Fort, but they clung desperately to the 
outside of the parapets until the pressure on both flanks and the 
front became so severe that the Fort had to be totally evacuated. 
The time was about i p.m. 

Meanwhile, at 12.30 p.m. the right of the battalion had been 
forced to the left owing to a bombing attack on the Berkshire : 
simultaneously the left of the Lincolnshire was forced to its right. 
The trenches were now very congested. A further supply of 
bombs came to hand and a length of trench to the right was 
retaken, only to be lost again a little later. However, until $ 
p.m., the Lincolnshire held on to their position, but at that hour 
were forced to evacuate all their gains. . 

Lieut.-Colonel S.FitzG. Cox (commanding 2nd Lincolnshire; 
stated in his report of the action : " I put down the failure to 
hold the line to the fact that the left flank was exposed and en 
Fair. This once lost, the remainder of the line was endangered. 
This was further aggravated by the facilities offered to the enemy 
in the shape of orchards, communication and other trencties, 
which afforded covered approaches in rear, front and flank, an 
it was by these that the enemy was able to creep up and dischar^ 
bombs and trench-mortars from the circumference of a circle, 
the centre of which stood the Fort. Before the Fort finally reii to 
one of .the attacks above indicated, at least six attempts wer 
frustrated by the close co-operation afforded me by the artw y 
and the excellent communication that existed between the gu 
and their liaison officer attached to me." , ^ 

The Brigade narrative furnishes another fact which rnaae u 
holding of the captured trenches difficult : " The maifl difficulty 
was keeping up the supply of bombs and bombers. 1 here 
doubt that an immense number of bombs were wanted. 
120 



THE 2nd GO TO THE SOMME [march, 1916 

cannot be too strongly urged that we should have one pattern of 
bomb with a good mechanical lighting apparatus. At present 
there are a dozen different kinds issued, and in the excitement of 
the action the men forgot how to use them. With one kind, in 
the use of which the men could be drilled, like they are with the 
rifle, the necessary movements would become automatic. Many 
of the fuses and matches got damp and the bombs were thrown 
unlighted or wasted." 

The losses of the 2nd Battalion were heavy. The Second-in- 
Command — Major F. W. Greatwood — was wounded. By com- 
panies, other casualties were : A — Major E.N. French wounded; 
B — 2nd Lieutenant R.F. Tindall killed and 2nd Lieutenant B.J. 
Woodwock wounded ; D — Major H.C.W. Hoskyns, Lieu- 
tenant G.L. Marshall and 2nd Lieutenants L. Brooks, C. Budi- 
bent and H.R. Budden killed. In other ranks the losses were : 
killed sixty, wounded two hundred and twenty-nine, and missing 
thirty-six — a total of nine officers and three hundred and twenty- 
five other ranks. The platoon of C Company which did not 
" go over " but remained in its trenches all day suffered severely 
from the enemy's heavy shell-fire. 

Two more stories concerning the attack of 25th September 
concern a company cook and an n.c.o. The cook, a middle- 
aged man whose place was not in the firing-line, became so ex- 
cited by the din of the fighting that he could not restrain his 
ardour. Leaving his work, he rushed off to the German trenches, 
seized a rifle and sniped a number of the enemy, greeting each 
successful shot with a muttered, " There's another of the 
blighters 1 " The n.c.o., a sergeant, before leaving the 
enemy's lines, dashed back and removed the bolts from all the 
German rifles he could see lying about the trenches. His action 
undoubtedly saved many casualties among the men as they were 
going back across the open. 

At 9 p.m. the battalion was relieved and marched back to 
billets in the neighbourhood of Fleurbaix, and on the 26th to the 
Bac St. Maur in Divisional Reserve. 

It remained there until the 2nd October, when it took over 
front-line trenches at Bois Grenier. The usual routine of the 
trenches, relieved by occasional periods behind the line followed. 
On the 24th October the battalion was transferred from the 25th 
Brigade to the 70th, which replaced the 24th Brigade in the 8th 
Division ; but rejoined the 25th on the 9th November. The 
whole of December was spent away from the front line in reserve 
billets, mostly at La Belle Hotesse. 

In March the battalion moved from Merville to the Somme, 
arriving at Longeau, east of Amiens, on the 28 th, and marching 
to billets in Flesselles, 2nd Lieutenant W.S. Peel, on the 8th 

121 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

March, and 2nd Lieutenant W.E. Tolley, on the 18th were 
wounded in the trenches at Cardonnieres, before leaving 
Merville. 

The battalion took over front-line trenches opposite La 
Boisselle, a village in the German front line, which (like Fricourt) 
formed a salient, and had been turned by the enemy into a power- 
ful fortress. Whenever the 2nd Lincolnshire were out of the 
line they were training and supplying large working parties. 
In May 2nd Lieutenant Monat-Biggs and one other rank were 
killed, and Captain Jeudwine, 2nd Lieutenant Shaw and four 
other ranks wounded. 

On the 29th June the battalion marched from billets in Millen- 
court to " Long Valley." As one of the assaulting battalions of 
the 25th Brigade, 8th Division, it moved to its assembly position 
on the 30th, and was in position at 2.30 a.m. on the 1st July ready 
for the Battle of Albert. 1 

Before the 2nd Battalion left the Bois Grenier sector another 
battalion, the 10th, raised at Grimsby as the " Chums," came there 
in the 101st Brigade, 34th Division. Landing in France on 
the 9th January, 1 9 1 6, this battalion started its initiation in trench 
warfare at Erquingham early in February, and towards the end 
of that month took over a sub-sector at Bois Grenier. It re- 
mained in the sector till the 8th April. The casualties of the 
battalion to the end of February were four other ranks killed and 
five wounded. The 5th April was a bad day for the 10th, which 
was in front of Fleurbaix. Our heavy trench-mortars, and guns, 
bombarded the enemy's trenches ; he promptly retaliated, killing 
three men, wounding two officers and sixteen other ranks. The 
support trenches, and Jay Post suffered most. 

On the 8th April the battalion started marching to Eperleques 
(ten miles north-west of St. Omer), arriving there on the 12th. 
It rested and trained till the 5th May, when it moved by rail 
from St. Omer, detraining at Longeau, and marching to Rainne- 
ville (ten miles north-east of Amiens), and on the 2 1st to Dernan- 
court, on the Somme. After occasional tours in the front line, 
the battalion went into the trenches on the 28th June for the 
last time before the opening of the attack against the German 
positions on the Somme. On the 29th Lieutenant W.D. 
Wroe, of C Company, was killed by shell-fire. The history of 
the 10th Lincolnshire is continued in the account of the Battle 
of Albert, their first battle. The final entry in the diary is : 
" German retaliatory heavier on this day than any other since 
the commencement of our bombardment." 

The losses, in other ranks, of the 10th Battalion from the date 

1 The casualties of the battalion in the trenches from the Action of Bois Grenier to 
the 30th June, 1916, were twenty-five other ranks killed, and ninety-two wounded. 

122 



BELLEWAARDE AGAIN [SEF t. 25 th, r 9 r 5 

of their landing in France to the 30th June, 191 6, were : killed, 
nine ; wounded, twenty-six. The officer casualties have been 
given above. 



X 

THE SECOND ATTACK ON BELLEWAARDE : 25TH-26TH SEPTEMBER 

Although the ist Lincolnshire did not, as a whole, take part 
in the attack launched by the 3rd and 14th Divisions at Belle- 
waarde on 25th September, the battalion bombers were engaged 
with the enemy : and during the evening the battalion, with the 
Bermuda Contingent, took over front-line trenches. 

On the 23rd September, in view of the pending operations, the 
1 st Lincolnshire moved to Sanctuary Wood. The bombardment 
of the enemy's trenches had already begun, to which the German 
guns replied vigorously. Throughout the 24th the battalion 
remained in dug-outs in the Wood. The operations of the 25th 
are thus described in the Battalion Diary : 

" Two mines at B.4 and B.7 were fired at 5.5 a.m., after which 
the 4th Gordons and ist Royal Scots Fusiliers rushed the front- 
line enemy lines which were taken with little resistance. Our 
bombers reinforced the Royal Scots Fusiliers and took part in 
the hand-to-hand fighting which occurred while taking the 
enemy's front-line trenches. The captured trenches became 
untenable owing to the heavy bombardment by the enemy's 
artillery and were abandoned in consequence. C Company 
reinforced the Royal Scots Fusiliers at 4.30 p.m. in our 
original front line. At 8.15 p.m. the Battalion Headquarters 
took over the headquarters dug-outs from the Royal Scots 
Fusiliers and our companies commenced the relief of the Royal 
Scots Fusiliers companies in the trenches. A Company 
occupied B.3 fire trench, B Company R.3 redoubts, C Company 
the "reserve trench, D Company and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle 
Contingent 1 in R (reserve) trench. Casualties during the day 
were one other rank killed and eighteen wounded." 

Conditions throughout the 26th were quiet, the Lincolnshire 
being employed in repairing the parapet and trenches and in 

1 The 2nd Lincolnshire -was stationed in Bermuda at the outbreak of war, and the 
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps raised a contingent, and asked that it should be attached 
to the Lincolnshire Regiment. It served with the ist Battalion to the end of the -war. 
The contingent lost thirty-three other ranks in killed alone, out of a contingent which 
at first numbered one hundred, augmented during the war by a draft from Bermuda. 
The Corps is now affiliated to the Lincolnshire Regiment, with the approval of His 
Majesty. 

123 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

salvage work. At night they were relieved and moved back to 
the ramparts at Ypres and to bivouacs in the neighbourhood. 

Both the i /4th and 1 /5th Lincolnshire (46th Division) were 
very near the operations, the former being in Railway Dug-outs 
and the latter in trenches near Zillebeke. Both Battalion 
Diaries mention the attacks of the 3rd and 14th Divisions, and 
on the 24th the 1 /5th had one company (B) under Captain Hart, 
dug in near Bellewaarde Farm, remaining there throughout the 
25th September until 5.30 p.m., when he returned with his 
company to Railway Dug-outs, having had no casualties. 1 



XI 

ACTIONS OF THE HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT : I 3TH-I 9TH OCTOBER 

On the 26th September both the i /4th and 1 /5th Lincoln- 
shire went into the front-line trenches north of and adjoining 
Hill 60. There is, however, little to record until the 30th of 
the month, when at about 6.45 p.m. the enemy exploded a mine 
under Trench 47, held by the 1 /5th Battalion. Captain B.K. 
Finnie was shot dead after the explosion, and Lance-Corporal C. 
Leadbeater, in charge of a listening post at the end of the trench, 
was blown over the parapet. He crawled back, however, and 
although seriously injured, collected his men, opened rapid-fire 
on the enemy and remained in charge until ordered to go to the 
dressing station. For his gallant conduct he was awarded the 
D.C.M. In the heavy hostile bombardment during the explo- 
sion of the mine the 1 /4th Battalion lost one other rank killed 
and 2nd Lieutenant Sowerby and nine other ranks wounded. 
On the 1st October both the 1 /4th and 1 /5th Lincolnshire were 
relieved, the former marching back to Dickebusch Huts and the 
latter to huts near Ouderdom, and as an officer of the 1 /5th 
Battalion said : " We turned our backs on the Ypres Salient with 
great satisfaction." 

The 46th Division, after about three months in the line, was 
at last relieved for a short rest. But it was short indeed, for 
on the 2nd the Division was attached to the XI. Corps and moved 
south to the Bethune area, the 1 /4th Lincolnshire arriving on 
that date at Busnettes, and the 1 /5th at Gonnehem. On the 
4th it became known that the 46th Division was to take part in 
an attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and on the 6th both 
Territorial Battalions of the Lincolnshire marched to Hesdigneul. 

1 The Brigade Diary records that on 25th September Captain R.S. Fieldsend, i/jth 
Lincolnshire was wounded, but there is no mention of that officer in the Battalion Diary. 

124 



HOHENZOIXERN REDOUBT [0 cr, i 9 i 5 

Here they remained for the next six days practising the attack 
in open warfare. 

On the afternoon of the 12th all battalions of the 138th Brigade 
marched via Bethune and Sailly la Bourse to a field south of the 
latter village. Here the men had tea, and rations for the 13 th 
as well as one hundred extra rounds of ammunition and six sand- 
bags were issued to each man. At dusk (it was about 7 p.m.) 
the march was resumed to Vermelles, where bombs and tools 
were collected for use during the attack next day. 

The 46th Division was to relieve the Guards Division opposite 
the Hohenzollern Redoubt on the night of 1 2th October. Having, 
therefore, drawn trench equipment, the Brigade resumed the 




march, the 1 /4th Lincolnshire relieved the 2nd Grenadiers and. the 

1 /$th the Irish Guards. In pitch darkness they were led by guides 
who seemed uncertain as to the exact direction. It was about 

2 a.m. on 13th before the reliefs were completed. 

Operation orders directed the 46th Division to capture the 
Hohenzollern Redoubt and Fosse No. 8, while the 12th Division 
was to capture the Quarries and establish communication with 
the 46th at point G. 5^.6.8. The 46th Division attacked with 
the 137th Brigade on the right and the 138th Brigade on the left. 

Of the 138th Brigade, the 4th Leicesters on the right and 
1 /5th Lincolnshire on the left, formed the first line of the attack : 
the 1 /4th Lincolnshire were in support and the 1st Monmouths 
in third-line trenches : the 5th Leicesters were in reserve. The 
first objective allotted to the i/^th Lincolnshire was Fosse 
Trench, behind the western face of the Hohenzollern Redoubt. 
The latter was an oval-shaped work pushed forward from the 

"5 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

German main line (Fosse Trench) and joined to the latter by 
several communication trenches, of which Big and Little Willie 
were the chief. North of the Redoubt was a German strong 
point — Mad Point. The Redoubt itself was situated on slightly 
rising ground of which the near portion dipped towards Fosse 
Trench, and was the only part of the objective allotted to the 
i /5th visible from the trenches of the latter. 

The attack of the two front-line battalions was, however, to 
pass straight over to the Redoubt without pause and. proceed 
without a check to secure Fosse Trench. The assaulting line 
was to advance from the trenches under cover of gas and smoke 
at 1 .50 p.m. and go forward as far as possible without approaching 
too near the fire of the divisional artillery, which would still be 
firing on the Redoubt. At 2 p.m. the guns were to lift their 
fire and the infantry attack was to begin. 

The 1 /4th Lincolnshire, in support, were to follow the assault- 
ing battalions one hundred yards in rear of the last line of the 
attack ; they were to clear, by bombing, all trenches passed over 
by the front line. 

The 1 st Monmouths, in rear of the 1 /4th Lincolnshire, were 
to occupy the Hohenzollern Redoubt and organise it at once as 
a strong supporting point for all-round defence, as well as con- 
necting the Redoubt to the present British front line by " Big 
Willie." The 5th Leicesters were to occupy the front-line 
British trenches after the attacking troops had left them. 

At 1 2 noon the artillery bombardment began and for the first 
half-hour the enemy's reply was confined to inconsiderable 
numbers of " whizz-bangs." From 12.30 p.m. onwards, how- 
ever, he " crumped " the reserve trenches, fortunately doing little 
damage. Next, precisely at 1 p.m., the wind becoming favour- 
able, gas was projected on the German lines, and smoke bombs 
were thrown 5> which produced clouds of smoke to hide the ad- 
vance of the infantry. All these arrangements went like clock- 
work. 

As soon as the enemy observed the discharge of gas and smoke 
clouds, he began in earnest to bombard the British trenches and 
the first, support and reserve lines were heavily shelled : violent 
machine-gun fire also swept the ground over which the infantry 
was to advance. 

At 2 p.m., the first, second, third and fourth lines 1 (4th 
Leicesters and 1 /5th Lincolnshire) of attacking infantry left the 
trenches and advanced against the enemy ; the fifth and sixth 
lines (1 /4th Lincolnshire) filed up through the second support 
line and advanced from the first support trench : the Monmouths 
and 5th Leicesters followed in that order. 

1 They were called ** lines " at this period, later they became " waves." 
126 



HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT [0 ct., i 9 t 5 

All accounts agree that the 4th Leicesters and 1 /5th Lincoln- 
shire (Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall commanding) advanced with 
great gallantry. The wire in front of the Redoubt had been well 
cut by the artillery, and both battalions swept over the West Face 
with but few casualties. " We reached the Redoubt," said 
Captain R.E. Madge, who commanded the machine-gun section 
and was the only officer to come out of action, " which was blown 
to pieces, and captured a small number of Germans (about fifteen, 
I think). A further advance was impossible, as the brigade on 
our right was held up on the wire in front of ' Big Willie,' and 
we were being bombarded heavily on our right flank. Attempts 
were made to get to Fosse 8, both over the open and up com- 
munication trenches, but the intensity of the German machine- 
guns made these efforts impossible. We managed to get one 
Vickers gun, without tripod, into the Redoubt and some very 
good work was done with this in repelling minor counter-attacks. 
Several small bombing parties attempted to come over the top 
and were at once wiped out. The Redoubt was so knocked 
about that two officers were killed in the trench whilst talking 
to me, both by machine-gun bullets. I discovered in the evening 
that I was the only officer left in my battalion (I had previously 
been Machine-Gun Officer) and that the i/4th Leicesters had 
none. Informed Brigade. Later the 1 st Monmouths (Pioneer 
Battalion attached to our Division) came up to help to consolidate 
the position. A fresh trench was dug in front and it was wired. 
Things were very quiet during the night, but the Germans 
brought up guns during the night and on the 14th shelled our 
original front line heavily. At 8 a.m., we were relieved by the 
1 /8th Sherwood Foresters. . . . We went into the show about 
twenty-three officers 1 and eight hundred and fifty men and came 
out with one officer and about one hundred and ten men. . . . 
Nothing could have been more admirable than the way the men 
behaved in this, their first battle." 

The above narrative by Captain Madge is an excellent sum- 
mary of what actually happened to the 1 /$th Battalion : the 
attackers got across No Man's Land and into the Redoubt 
splendidly and then advanced on Fosse Trench, only to be mown 
down by violent machine-gun and rifle-fire. 

Another account states that an advance by bombing was made 
up North Face and a post formed in that trench. On the night 

1 The casualties among officers of the i /5th Lincolnshire were: killed— Major H.L 
Robinson, Capt. and Adjutant V.de Hoghton, Captains H.S. Scorer, H.W. Nicholson, 
G.H. Sowter, Lieutenant W.L. Hartley, and 2nd Lieutenants P.K. Brown, E.E. Early, 
J.A.B. Jollye, C.B. Shrewsbury and T, Wright ; died of wounds — 2nd Lieutenant J. 
Blunt ; wounded-— Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall, Major H.G. Wilson, Lieutenants B.C. 
Hall, C.F.W. Haseldine, F.L. Jones, H.B. Mountain, J.S. Nicholls, D.F. Underwood, 
and 2nd Lieutenants R.L. Hett and W.H.G. Smyth. 

127 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

of the 1 3th /14th October, however, the 1 / 5th Battalion as a 
whole held West Face of the Hohenzollern Redoubt. 

The 1 /4th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel C. Heathcote com- 
manding), supporting the Leicesters and 1 /$th Battalion, crossed 
the front-line trenches and went forward to the Redoubt in four 
lines. Their Diary records : " Redoubt taken, but at heavy 
cost. Incessant bombing, machine-gun and rifle-fire all the 
evening, also shelling. Gas and smoke were used to cover the 
advance but apparently with little damage to the enemy." They 
also were relieved on the morning of the 14th and came out of 
the line having suffered terribly. Their casualties were ten 




m**f£u,K>t»f*& • 



GAS MASKS AND STEEL HELMETS, AUTUMN I915 

officers and three hundred and eighty-five other ranks, killed, 
wounded and missing. 1 

Many gallant deeds were performed on that day of hard 
fighting, but only a few are recorded. 

Corporal C. Leadbeater, I /$th Lincolnshire, who had been 
awarded a D.C.M. for gallantry at Ypres on 30th September, 
won a bar to his decoration. He was most conspicuous amongst 
many brave n.c.o.s, who had to take charge when their officers 
had been shot down. Leadbeater, on 13th October, took charge 
of a point in North Face and, when the bombers were unable to 

1 The casualties among officers of the i/4th Lincolnshire were : killed — Captain C.S, 
Gray, 2nd Lieutenants L. Anderson, E.D. Clkby, T,B. Wood, and H.T. Brunwin- 
Hales 5 died of wounds — Captain WJ. Johnson ; wounded — Major Cooper, Captain 
Hart, and 2nd Lieutenant Winkley j missing — Lieutenant Fripp. 

128 



THE 4th & 5th LINCOLNSHIRE [oct, 191$ 

advance further up that trench, he built a barricade and con- 
solidated the trench. He spent that night in bombing fights 
with the enemy and when daylight came on the 14th, regardless 
of all personal danger, acted as stretcher-bearer. 

Company-Sergeant-Major A. Peasgood, of the 1 /4th Lin- 
colnshire was another n.c.o. who, for conspicuous gallantry on 
the 13th and 14th, was awarded the D.C.M. When in charge 
of a party of about twenty men " in the south part " (South Face 
is probably meant here) he organised bombing parties and, with 
the greatest courage and resource, held his position from 3 p.m. 
on the 1 3th throughout the night and until after midday on 14th, 
and during the afternoon he was still holding the same position, 
although his party had been reduced to six. He refused to 
relinquish his post when the rest of his battalion was relieved by 
fresh troops. At the time he was suffering from a wound in the 
chest received on the afternoon of the 13 th. 1 

Two more men of the 1 /4th, one Corporal C.W. Jackson and 
the other Private F. Hibbs, were awarded the D.C.M. for con- 
spicuous gallantry during the attack on the Hohenzollern 
Redoubt. Corporal Jackson organised bombing parties to hold 
back the Germans, who were bombing from " Big Willie." 
When darkness had fallen he collected six more men and held 
the enemy till dawn, by which time both he and all his party 
had been either killed or wounded. Hibbs was a signaller at 
Battalion Headquarters and carried out his duties most gallantly, 
making perilous journeys between the old British front line and 
the Redoubt in an endeavour to run a telephone wire across. 
Eventually his efforts were successful. Throughout, his cool- 
ness set a fine example. 

Private C.A. Hocknall, of the r/5th Lincolnshire, who 
remained in a shell-hole, under heavy shell-fire and machine-gun 
fire, in order to tend a wounded officer whom he carried back 
when darkness fell to the British line, was awarded a Military 
Medal. 

Sergeant W.E. Hamp and Lance-Corporal A.C. Ingamells, 
both of the 1 /$th Battalion, were also awarded the M.M. for 
showing great personal gallantry. 

The 1 /4th and r/$tn, on relief on the 14th withdrew to the 
second-line trenches, but during the evening they were again 
relieved and moved back to the Lancashire trenches. On the 
15th they proceeded to Vermelles, thence by bus to their old 
billets in Hesdigneul. 

Both battalions fought most gallantly in the operations of the 
13th and 14th October : they captured a position powerfully 

1 Capt. and Adjutant E.J. Grinling of the l /4th Lincolnshire was awarded the M.C. for 
gallantry during the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 13th October. 

K I29 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

defended by the enemy and inflicted on their opponents heavy 
losses. The survivors of the two battalions, though shaken by 
their experiences in their first great battle, set about the task of 
reorganisation with undiminished spirit. 

The 46th Division was congratulated by the Corps Com- 
mander (Lieut-General Sir R. Haking) on the manner in which 
the attack against the Hohenzollern Redoubt and Fosse 8 had 
been carried out. 



XII 

THE 46TH DIVISION EMBARKS FOR EGYPT 

On the 1 5th October the 4th and 5th Lincolnshire moved by 
motor lorry to Hesdigneul, where drafts were received and 
training carried out, and on the 26th to Verquin (two miles south 
of Bethune), Here a composite brigade, which included the 
the 4th Battalion, was formed from the 46th Division, for inspec- 
tion by His Majesty the King. The Diary of the 4th Battalion 
mentions the accident to His Majesty : " The King was crushed 
by his horse rolling on him shortly after inspecting the Com- 
posite Brigade of the 46th Division." Fortunately the con- 
sequences of this alarming accident were not so serious as they 
might have been. 

November was passed in the front line near Neuve Chapelle, 
where the ground was in an awful condition ; trenches were 
impossible and breastworks built of sandbags afforded the only 
cover : and the rain and hostile shell-fire frequently levelled 
them to the ground. Only two days were spent in the front 
line in December ; the remainder of the month was spent at 
Le Sart and Thiennes (eleven miles south-east of St. Omer). 

The prospect of a long winter in the trenches was dispelled 
during the month by orders to the 46th Division to embark for 
Egypt at an early date, and on the 7th January both battalions 
left Marseilles in T.S.S. " Anchises." The vessel reached 
Alexandria on the 13th and they left by rail for El Shalufa, two 
miles south of the Bitter Lakes, where, after detraining, they 
crossed the Suez Canal by ferry, and bivouacked to the east of it. 

By day the desert to the east was patrolled by Indian Lancers, 
but by night each battalion, in turn, furnished an outpost line 
roundthe camp. The days were very hot, and the nights cold ; 
any wind that blew carried clouds of dust ; nevertheless a fort- 
night passed very pleasantly. 

This peaceful existence came to an end when the 46th 
130 



EGYPT— THE SOMME [feb-june, I9 r6 

Division received sudden orders to return to France, and on the 
4th February the 4th Battalion embarked at Alexandria on the 
" Minnewaska," and the 5th on the " Megantic," disembarking 
at Marseilles on the 9th. 1 

Both battalions went by rail to Pont Remy (south-east of 
Abbeville) and after several changes of station eventually reached 
Doullens, in heavy snow, on the 2nd March. The 46th Division 
was then ordered to relieve French troops in the sector south of 
Souchez (five miles west by south-west of Lens), and on the 10th 
March the 5th Lincolnshire took over front-line trenches near 
Villers-au-Bois, the 4th moving into the support line in the Talus 
des Zouaves, 

The £th had a sharp tussle with the enemy on the 12th March 
when the Germans exploded a mine under the parapet, followed 
by a bombing attack. In this affair Sergeant Warren showed 
great coolness, and resource, under heavy fire in repelling the 
attack, and was later awarded the M.M. 

The 4th Battalion went into the front line on the 14th and lost 
two officers during the tour : 2nd Lieutenant H.B. Newland 2 
on the 1 6th, and 2nd Lieutenant E.L. Stephenson on the 1 7th. 
On the 20th April the enemy blew a mine nearly under the front- 
line trench, and 2nd Lieutenant W.R. Wright, and fifteen other 
ranks lost their lives, being buried eight feet or more. 

Lieut.-Colonel Sandall, wounded in the attack on the Hohen- 
zollern Redoubt, rejoined the £th Battalion on the 6th April to 
the delight of all ranks. 

Both battalions were sent to the north of Arras for carrying 
duties with the 51st Brigade, until the 9th May, and then, at 
Sus-St. Leger, were employed in making fascines and similar 
work until the 2rst. From Sus-St. Leger the 4th Battalion 
moved to Fonquevillers, and the 5th to Bienyillers, both being 
strenuously engaged in digging communication trenches and 
other work in preparation for the contemplated attack on the 
German positions. Lieut.-Colonel Gardener, of the 4th, was 
seriously wounded in the head whilst watching the work, and 
Lieut-Colonel C.J. Barrel took command on the 8 th June. 

On the 27th June the 4th went into front-line trenches oppo- 
site Gommecourt, where No Man's Land was wide, and a 
raiding party, Lieutenant C.N. Bond, 2nd Lieutenants E. Elliott, 
Quantrail, and thirty-four other ranks " went over " on the night 
of the 2 9th /30th to take prisoners, and ascertain the condition 

1 The evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula set free a large number of troops for service 
in Egypt and the 46th Division was in consequence ordered back to France, 

2 2nd Lieutenant Newland died of wounds on the 18th, see By Authority. Officers died 
in the' Great War. He is shown as 1st Battalion. 2nd Lieutenant Wright died on the 
aoth, see the same publication. For the Other Ranks, see By Authority. Soldiers died in 
the Great War. Both these works are printed and published by H.M.'s Stationery Office. 

131 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

of the German trenches. They were discovered by a German 
listening post, and German infantry in force attempted to sur- 
round them, but were beaten off. Lieutenant Bond was wounded 
in the neck, and died on the way to the dressing station, 1 and one 
other rank was slightly wounded. No prisoners were taken by 
either side. A false trench was dug during the night of the 
30th, which was successful in drawing the enemy's artillery, 
when our attack began on the 1st July. The 5th Battalion was 
in Divisional Reserve at Warlincouft on the night of the 30th 
June. 



XIII 

THE ACTIONS OF THE BLUFF ! I4TH— I5TH FEBRUARY AND 

2ND MARCH, I916 

From the 25th September to the end of 1915, the 7th Lin- 
colnshire remained in the neighbourhood of Ypres. Enemy 
action was more vigorous in this part of the line, though spas- 
modic, than farther south j German trench-mortars and snipers 
causing constant annoyance and loss. Lieutenant H. Ormesher 
was killed on the 5th October. 

Towards the end of the month the battalion moved to Maple 
Copse (one thousand yards east of Zillebeke) and on the 10th 
November to a new sector north of the Menin road. The water 
here stood knee-deep, and rain had played havoc with parapet and 
parados. "Trench Foot" appeared. On the 17th the bat- 
talion was relieved after a week of intense suffering. Tours were 
reduced, in December, to forty-eight hours in these trenches, as 
it was considered that no man could endure longer. Captain 
T.A. Peddie, and 2nd Lieutenant E.J. Fisher were wounded on 
the 9 th. On the 19th the enemy's guns put down five barrages, 
so intense that it was impossible to hear conversation. 2nd 
Lieutenant F.L. Nightingale and two other ranks were killed, 
and Captain C.F. Drought, and sixteen other ranks wounded. 
The cannonade, from both British and German guns, continued 
on the 20th and 21st. Lieut.-Colonel Forrest, commanding 
the battalion, wrote : " The night of the 20th was on the whole 
the worst we have had. I cannot speak too highly of the behaviour 
of ail ranks during a somewhat trying period of duty during 
which any sleep or rest were quite impossible ... the courage 
and devotion of the runners and orderlies were remarkable. 

1 Lieutenant Bond's name is not in the regimental List of Officers -who died in the war, 
published by authority ; perhaps attached from another regiment ? 

132 



THE BLUFF 



[FEB.-MAR., 1916 



Wires were cut practically throughout the forty-eight hours, 
and nearly all messages had to be sent by hand." Sergeant G. 
Stevens (who served in the 1st Battalion in the Sudan Expedition 
1898) was mentioned as having acted with great gallantry. 

The year closed with the battalion still in the trenches near 
Hooge ; but in January 1 9 1 6 the battalion was relieved for rest 
and training at Hellebrouck, near St. Omer, returning on the 
7th February to trenches at the " Bluff." Mining was very 
active here, and on the nth the enemy broke into one of our 
mine galleries ; the mining officer waited, and when a German 
put his head through the hole, shot him dead. He then exploded 



-A 




i 






r 


/ 




Voormezeele 


S^\& TbeBhxFf / 

^95^1 if 




St.EloN 








1000 


2ooo Yards 






II Scale 





a charge, and blew in the German gallery. Captain B.P. 
Neville was killed on this day. 

The 1 7th Division, after a month of rest and training in the 
neighbourhood of St. Omer returned in February to the Ypres 
front, and took over from the 3rd Division a sector extending 
from St. Eloi on the right, across the Ypres-Comines Canal, to 
the line of the Ypres-Comines railway. It included ground 
just north of the canal, won from the enemy early in 1 9 1 5, where 
there is a steep rise called on the British war maps the Bluff. 
For some distance along the north bank of the canal the debris 
excavated to make the cutting through the ridge which divides 
the flat lands of the Yser from the valley of the Lys, formed a 
long bank, twenty to thirty feet high, extending to the lower 

133 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

slopes of the Bluff. This bank was fringed with trees or 
the ragged remains of them. 

The Bluff was of very great importance for observation, 
but was not easy to hold, for the enemy had not been cleared 
from the crest and still held the eastern margin, with their sup- 
ports on the reverse slope. 

On the 8th February the 17th Division took over the sector ; 
the Germans, after a period of comparative quiet on the Ypres 
front, again became active, and on the 14th, after some hours 
of intensive gun and mortar-fire on the entrenchments held by 
the 17th Division, exploded three mines on the side of the 
Bluff near the canal, and, with their bombers in front, rushed 
the ruined trenches there, and began to work their way into the 
defences to the north of it. At this time, about 5.40 p.m., the 
52nd Brigade held the right of the line, and the 51st (Brig.- 
General Fell) the left, north of the canal. The 52nd Brigade 
being responsible for the defence of the line where the canal 
passed through it, its left battalion, 10th Lancashire Fusiliers, 
held the Bluff defences close to the north bank. The 10th 
Sherwoods, on the right, and 8 th Staffords, on the left, holding 
the 51st Brigade front, with the 7th Lincolnshire in support on 
the bank of debris, referred to above, and the 7th Borders in 
reserve. 

After the first local gain on the Bluff the enemy gained 
ground slowly ; there was confused fighting, often hand-to-hand, 
along a front of some five hundred yards northward from the 
canal bank. The first reinforcement for the defence was sup- 
plied by the 7th Lincolnshire. Lieut-Colonel Forrest, who 
commanded it, was told to report to the Commanding Officer of 
the right sector battalion (10th Sherwood Foresters), who ordered 
the Headquarters of the Lincolnshire to keep under cover at 
Kingsway Redoubt, where the whole battalion was concentrated, 
though only for a while as companies were sent off to reinforce 
or support the Sherwood Foresters. 

During the night and early morning of the 15th a counter- 
attack was made on the enemy holding New Year Trench, in 
which C Company, under Captain A.H.W. Burton, took part ; 
but this attempt, and another a couple of hours later, was repulsed. 

The position on the 1 5th was that the crest of the Bluff, 
and the trenches north of it as far as the long sloping hollow, 
known as the Ravine, were held by the enemy, but the support 
line remained in our hands. 

During the day the Lincolnshire in the trenches (with the 
exception of D Company, attached to the 8th South Staffords) 
were relieved by the 7th East Yorkshires (50th Brigade) and 
moved back to the Kingsway dug-outs. 

134 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [ FE b.-mar„ t 9 i6 

Another counter-attack was ordered to take place at 9 p.m. 
on the 15th by the 51st Brigade, to which the 6th Dorsets and 
the East Yorkshire were attached. 1 Strong bombing parties 
from all four battalions of the Brigade were to attack the enemy 
as follows : (a) the South Stafford bombers, starting from the 
northern side of the ravine in trench 33, were to bomb down 
towards trench 32 ; (b) the Border bombers, from the junction 
of Deeside and 33s were to bomb towards 33, where they were 
to amalgamate with the South Stafford bombers and then bomb 
towards trench 32 ; (c) the Lincolnshire and Sherwood bombers, 
from the junction of 37s and Wood Street, were to bomb towards 
trench 32. On reaching the front line the Sherwood bombers 
were to turn north and bomb towards the Borders and South 
StafFords, while the Lincolnshire bombers turned south and 
bombed down trenches 31 and 31A ; (d) cyclist bombers, 
starting from the junction of Hedge Row and 31s were to amal- 
gamate with the Lincolnshire and work with them down trenches 
31 and 31A ; (e) the bombers attached to the East Yorkshire 
were to bomb from Angle Trench up trench 30 and along Loop 
Trench. 

Colonel Forrest issued orders accordingly to his bombing 
officers and their squads. The strength of bombing parties was 
to be eight, each party having a carrying party of thirty, all of 
whom were to be trained bombers : six bayonet men were to 
accompany each bombing squad. Forward dumps, in charge 
of officers, were formed, from which supplies of bombs were to 
be replenished. 

The attack started up to time, but the enemy's shell-fire was 
heavy and many casualties were sustained among the bombing 
and carrying parties. Moreover the supplies of bombs were 
continually running short, one officer for instance, Lieutenant 
D.A. Jones, reporting that he had reached the enemy's front line, 
but owing to the carriers having lost touch for a while his 
supplies of bombs ran out and he was forced to return. 

All night long the attack continued, but no progress was made. 
Early on the morning of the 16th a report was received that the 
Dorsets had recaptured the Bluff, but it was ^ incorrect and 
when dawn broke the enemy still held all his gains of the 14th 
February. 

The 7th Lincolnshire held their position throughout the day, 
and at 1 a.m. on the 17th, were relieved and moved back to 
Camp B. A message was received later from the General Officer 
Commanding 17th Division (Pilcher), stating that : " He con- 
siders that the behaviour of every unit of this Brigade (51st) 

1 The Dorsets were ordered up from Dickebusche for the counter-attack on the 
Bluff. 

'35 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

during the last few days has been magnificent and entirely worthy 
of the famous regiments to which they belong. He considers 
no troops could have done more than was done by this 
Brigade." 

The losses of the 7th Lincolnshire from the 14th to 17th 
February were one officer and twenty-five other ranks killed, 
seven officers and seventy-one other ranks wounded and three 
other ranks missing. 1 

Throughout the remainder of February the battalion did not 
again go into the front-line trenches, but spent the 18th and 19th 
at Reninghelst, and the 20th to the 29th near Ouderdom. 

It was decided that another attempt to recapture the Bluff 
should be made, but this time, after long and careful preparation. 
The 76th Brigade (Brig.-General Pratt) from the 3rd Division 
was placed at the disposal of the General Officer Commanding 
1 7th Division. Near Reninghelst a full-scale model of the Bluff 
was made, and for several days the 76th Brigade, with the 7th 
Lincolnshire and Sherwoods, practised the attack on the model 
enemy position. A stratagem was introduced into the artillery 
work designed to delude the enemy into keeping under cover at 
the moment of the assault. It was effected by a daily routine of 
two short bursts of fire and a short pause between and then quiet. 
The Germans were in the habit of remaining under cover until 
after the second burst of fire. 

The 76th Brigade, with the 7th Lincolnshire, and the 10th 
Sherwoods, relieved the 52nd Brigade in the trenches facing the 
German lines on the evening of the 1st March. At 4 a.m. on 
the 2nd March parties of our men crawled quietly forward and 
gathered in groups, lying down near the German wire, which 
was found to be in bad condition. At 4.30 a.m., there was a 
sudden burst of heavy fire, which the enemy was accustomed to 
regard as invariably followed by a pause and a second short 
burst and then quiet, so that when our men went over the top and 
into the German trenches, the Germans were completely taken 
by surprise, and our guns re-opened with raised sights, heavily 
barraging the enemy's communications. 

The rapid capture of the front line was followed by steady 
progress into the support trenches, whilst the Lincolnshire 
rushed up their machine-guns and took heavy toll of a mass of 
retiring enemies. The battalion was told off to support the 
9th King's Own, who were to attack the Bean Salient, and the 
1st Gordons, who were to assault the trenches in the north-west 
corner of the Bean. D Company (Captain Legard) was sent to 

1 Officer casualties : 2nd Lieutenant H. Hall killed ; Captain W. Hill> Lieutenant C.H, 
Waldron and znd Lieutenants A.W.S. Cowie, Lluellyn, Lane-Clayton, D.A. Jones and 
Parsloe wounded. 

I36 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [mah.-jtoe, m 6 

assist the second attack made by the ist Gordons on their 
objective. 

The German guns shelled the position, which they had lost 
during the 2nd March, and the whole night of the 2nd /3rd. 
" I have always regarded the concentrated gun fire put down on 
us by the Germans during and after our recapture of the Bluff 
as the heaviest bombardment I ever experienced." (Brig.-General 
Metcalfe, then Cap tain > *}th Battalion?) 

The Bluff was captured from us on the 14th February by 
one German regiment and recaptured on the 2nd March from 
another ; the former never forgave the latter. By their own 
showing, therefore, the loss of the Bluff was a serious blow 
to German moral. (From the history of the German 2jth Division 
(Brig.-General Metcalfe).) 

The casualties of the 7th Lincolnshire were very heavy : 
Lieutenant C.H. Waldron and thirty-three other ranks killed, 
five officers and one hundred and seventy-eight other ranks 
wounded, and sixteen other ranks missing, a total of two hundred 
and thirty-three of all ranks. Immediate rewards of four M.C.'s 
and eight D.C.M.'s, and praise from General Plumer (Lord 
Plumer) when he inspected the battalion later in the month near 
Bailleul. 1 

At 10 p.m. on the 3rd the Lincolnshire were relieved and 
marched to a rest camp at La Clytte, and from there to billets 
near Bailleul till the 19 th March, when it went into the front line 
near Armentieres. Next day Captain J.A. Graham was killed 
by a sniper. By the end of April the depleted ■ ranks of the 
battalion were made up by drafts to thirty-two officers and eight 
hundred and seventy other ranks. 

About the middle of May the battalion (with other units of 
the brigade) moved to Hellebrouck, a training area near St. 
Omer, remaining there until the nth June, when it entrained 
for the Somme area ; detraining at Longeau next day, and 
marching to Allonville, where training and working parties 
occupied it for a fortnight. On the 30th it moved to Morlan- 
court to take part in the Battle of Albert. 



1 Captains A.H.W. Burton and C. Legard, 2nd Lieutenants H.T. Gregory, H.J. Gwyn 
(died of wounds 3rd March, 1916) and N.E. Broadbent. 

Captains C. Legard and H.V. White, R.A.M.C. (attached), Lieutenants D.A. Jones 
and D. Roberts were awarded the M.C. ; Sergeant G.H. Simons, Lance-Corporals H. 
Keeble, F. Fowler, H.W. Kelby, Privates F. Milburn, J. Wallis, C. Bellinger and J. 
Davenport the D.C.M. 

Lieut.-Colonel J. Forrest was made a C.M.G., and Major F.E. Metcalfe a D.S.O., in 
the London Gazette of the 3rd June, and Captain J.A. Graham mentioned in despatches, 
in the Gazette of the 15th June, 1916. 

J 37 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



PART FOUR 

THE DARDANELLES CAMPAIGN 
1915 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



THE DARDANELLES [r9rs 

I 

THE LANDING AT SUVLA BAY : 6TH-I5TH AUGUST, 191^ 

THE story of the Lincolnshire Regiment in the Great War 
turns now from France and Flanders to the Dardanelles, 
where, on the sandy shores of Suvk Bay, the 6th (Service) 
Battalion, with other troops of the nth Division, landed on the 
night 6th /7th August. 

The general situation which led to the Battles of Suvk in 
August 1 9 1 5 may be summed up as follows : after the landing 
on the southern shores of the Peninsula and at Anzac on the 
. 25th April, the attacks of the 6th /8 th May had demonstrated 
the impossibility of capturing the Narrows with the comparatively 
weak force at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief. In June 
Sir Ian Hamilton was promised three regular divisions and the 
infantry of two Territorial divisions : these troops were to arrive 
in July and their concentration at Mudros was to be completed 
by 10th August. Several methods of employing these fresh 
troops presented themselves, but the plan finally decided upon 
was : " Reinforcement of the Australian and New Zealand 
Army Corps (at Anzac) combined with a landing in Suvk Bay. 
Then, with one strong push, to capture Hill 305 1 and, working 
from that dominating point, to grip the waist of the Peninsula. 
{Official despatches.) 

Among the fresh troops promised to Sir Ian Hamilton was 
the nth Division (Hammersley), consisting of the 32nd, 33rd 
and 34th Infantry Brigades. 

.The 6th (Service) Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment 
with the 6th Border Regiment, 7th South Staffordshire Regiment 
and 9th Sherwood Foresters, formed the 33rd Infantry Brigade, 2 
which was raised at Grantham in August 19 14 and remained 
encamped there until early in April 1915. On the 4th of that 
nionth the nth Division moved to the Rugby area, thence to 
Whitley and Farnham, the 33rd Brigade taking over a tented 
camp at Frensham. Here, until the end of June, the brigade 
was training. On the 1 st July the brigade sailed from Liverpool, 
escorted by two destroyers as far as the Scilly Islands ; but there 
was no escort to Alexandria or Mudros. 3 

Hill 3 o 5 was the highest point on the Sari Bair Ridge and lay north-east of Anzac t 
a^i. ° almost du "ectly south of Biyuk Anafarta, one of the villages east of Suvk Bay. 
Hie 3 3 rd Brigade was commanded by Brig.-General R.P. Maxwell, late Lincolnshire 
«eg lm ent. He gave up command of the ist Battalion in March 1914, having served 
"woughout with the Regiment. The Brigade Major (33"* Brigade) was Captain F.G. 
°pnng, also of the Lincolnshire Regiment, and Captain Hoad, of the same Regiment, 
was Staff Captain. S 

Mudros is on the Island of Lemnos, one of the islands in the JEgean Sea. 

141 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The " Empress of Britain," carrying the 33rd Brigade, reached 
Alexandria on the 12th July, where it was delayed four days to 
fill up with water, arriving at Mudros on the 1 8 th. The troops- 
were transferred to small steamers there, and carried to the 
southern end of Cape Helles, where they moved into trawlers for 
landing on the peninsula. The 6th Lincolnshire went straight 
to " V " Beach and disembarked from lighters. Other units of 
the Brigade were landed wherever the captain of each trawler 
could put them ashore ; this was owing to the severe shelling 
of the beach. The Brigade was not collected till noon the next 
day, just north-west of Sedd-el-Bahr. 

The 33rd Brigade now came under the orders of the Naval 



BflBROS 





Suvla: 







10 

=1= 



Scale 



2. 



so Miles 



Division, which at this period, after very severe fighting, was 
tired and weak and greatly in need of relief. The brigade, 
therefore, took over the whole of the front line held by the Naval 
Division, which extended about one thousand yards across the 
Achi Baba Nallah, with its left about fifteen hundred yards south, 
and a little east of Krithia. 

Very keen, very anxious to get to grips with the enemy, the 
6th Lincolnshire at first went into reserve trenches at 4 p.m. on 
20th, but on the following day moved into the front line. The 
trenches were in a very bad state, in many places they were only 
half completed and exposed to the fire of Turkish snipers. But 
at once the battalion set to work to deepen and strengthen the 
defences, the enemy keeping up an almost continuous deadly 
rifle-fire, particularly at night. The Lincolnshire snipers, 
however, soon equalised matters. 

The 6th Lincolnshire had four casualties — all wounded — on 
142 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [ATC . 6th- 7 th, t9ts 

the 2 1 st July. These were the first suffered by the battalion in 
the Great War. On the 2 2 nd Company-Quartermaster-Sergeant 
Wrightson was hit whilst coming up to the line from the beach. 
The fiPst officer casualty is recorded on 31st July, when 2nd 
Lieutenant T.D. Overton was killed by a bullet through the head. 
After six days in the front line the Lincolnshire withdrew in 
reserve, about five hundred yards in rear, though still under shell- 
fire. The casualties suffered by the Battalion from the 20th to 
the 31st July inclusive were one officer and six other ranks killed 
and thirty-two other ranks wounded. Another short tour in the 
forward trenches followed and then on the night of ist/2nd 
August the Lincolnshire were relieved by French Senegalese 
troops, and the 33 rd Brigade re-embarked on vessels for Imbros, 
rejoining the two other brigades of the 1 ith Division, 

The period spent at Helles was a great asset to the 6th Bat- 
talion and other troops of the brigade. The men got over their 
natural nervousness when under fire, and the first sensations 
of seeing their comrades killed or wounded. They became 
inured to the hard conditions of the firing line and acquired self- 
confidence. But the incredible filth, stench and flies all over the 
lines sowed the seeds of dysentery, from which the brigade never 
entirely recovered. It was no fault of our men who, when not 
in the trenches, had to bury innumerable dead, fill up latrines, 
burn rubbish and clear up all round. 

The Division was informed that it would shortly take part 
in a landing at Suvla Bay in conjunction with an attack from 
Anzac, push on to the eastern crest of the Gallipoli Peninsula, 
and so cut off the Turks opposed to the British and French troops 
operating from the south. 

The landing took place on the night of 6th/7th August. For 
several days the troops had practised embarking and disembark- 
ing from lighters, so that when on the afternoon of the 6th the 
final embarkation took place, the operation was quickly carried 
out. The 33rd Brigade, however, had only three destroyers 
and three lighters allotted to it and much discomfort was suffered 
by the troops as they were packed so closely together that it was 
hardly possible to move. For hours they were crowded together 
as the time of departure from the harbour was to be 8 p.m. 

When darkness fell, the destroyers, each towing a lighter 
(called " Beetles ") moved slowly out of Imbros Harbour. The 
night was still and the setting forth of that extraordinary fleet of 
small vessels was a sight never to be forgotten. Absolute silence 
was enjoined on the crowds of khaki-clad troops packed closely 
on the decks. 

Divisional Operation Orders stated that the tasks allotted to 
the Division were to secure the landings on Beaches B, C and A 

143 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

(the beaches were in that order from right to left), and SuvlaBay 
generally for the disembarkation of the ioth Division and stores. 
With these objectives the 33rd Brigade (less two battalions^ was 
to secure the right flank of the Division by taking up a position 
from the right of the landing place (Beach B) to the south-eastern 
corner of the Salt Lake. The 32nd Brigade was to seize Lala 
Baba, and the 34th Brigade was to carry Ghazi Baba and Hill 10. 



OF 
SJLROS 



The Landing of" 
the xrDwisiotf 



Suvla. 
Point 




Scale 



2000 3000jds, 



In pitch darkness, with every light " doused," the destroyers, 
with their " Beetles " in tow, approached Suvla. It was 1 1.30 
p.m., when the lighters carrying the 33rd Brigade grounded on 
B Beach, south of the 32nd Brigade, which was then landing at 
C Beach. Beyond a few shots from Turkish snipers, the landing 
was effected without opposition. 

The 7th South Staffords and 9th Sherwood Foresters were 
first ashore and were ordered to take up a line from the south- 
eastern corner of the Salt Lake to the beach. Brigade Head- 
quarters, the 6th Lincolnshire, 6th Border Regiment and the 
Divisional Pioneers (6th East Yorkshire) followed in Divisional 
144 



CHOCOLATE HILL [AUG . 7T „, I91 - 5 

Reserve, with orders to be at the junction of the Azmak with the 
Anafarta Sagir-Suvla Point road at dawn on the 7th. 

The 34th Brigade meanwhile experienced difficulty in landing 
at A Beach, where opposition was encountered from a small 
Turkish redoubt on Hill 10, rifle-fire also being opened on the 
brigade from Lala Baba and Ghazi Baba. The West Yorkshire 
and Green Howards of the 32 nd Brigade, however, stormed Lala 
Baba from the south and finally the 34th Brigade got ashore. 

The 32nd Brigade then advanced to support the 34th Brigade 
along the narrow Isthmus between Lala Baba and Hill 10, which 
separated the Salt Lake from Suvla Bay. 

The 6th Lincolnshire, with other troops in Divisional Reserve, 
followed the 32nd Brigade. The Salt Lake at this period was 
dry 1 : it was connected with Suvla. Bay by a small inlet (later 
named " The Cut "), also dry. 

Half-way across the Isthmus fighting was seen in the neigh- 
bourhood of Hill 10. Day was now breaking and the Lincoln- 
shire who, with Brigade Headquarters, were leading, came under 
fire from Turks on the northern shore of Salt' Lake. 

The 33 rd Brigade, less two battalions, was in column of 
route •; when day broke the head of the column, the 6th Lincoln- 
shire, was close to the rear of the 32nd Brigade, then in the act 
of crossing ''The Cut." For the moment the two battalions of 
the 33rd Brigade were not required, and as they were exposed 
to^ fire, the Brigade Commander formed them into column, the 
Lincolnshire facing north across the Isthmus, digging cover for 
themselves in the scrub and .soft. sand. Here they waited in 
Divisional Reserve, until at 2 p.m. they were ordered to advance 
in support of the 10th Division and seize Chocolate Hill. 

C and D Companies of the Lincolnshire, supported by A and 
B Companies, advanced immediately in artillery formation and 
passed along the northern shore of Salt Lake. 

The final advance was carried out across the Lake itself, the 
troops advancing in lines in extended order in absolute parade- 
ground formation. It was a magnificent spectacle, and brought 
forth exclamations of admiration from all who saw it. An 
Australian Staff Officer, who with others watched the attack from 
the heights of Anzac, said to an officer of the battalion after- 
wards : "What a wonderful attack that was across the Salt 
Lake ! We watched it go right over. Do you know who 
carried it out ?" 

Both the 6th Lincolnshire and 6 th Borders went forward in 

fine style without faltering. At the foot of Chocolate Hill 

(another name for which is .Hill $3) and about six hundred to 

seven hundred yards from the summit, they came upon and 

1 Though covered with caked mud which made movement difficult. 

L 145 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

passed through the right of some troops of the ioth Division, 
then halted under cover. Here they re-formed and prepared to 
storm the hill. The 6th Border Regiment had come up on the 
left of the Lincolnshire, the two battalions facing south-east. At 
this place, some two hundred yards from the north-west foot of 
Chocolate Hill, were found supports of the Royal Dublin 
Fusiliers. 

D and B Companies, advancing in short rushes through the 
Dublin Fusiliers, began the attack. By this time the enemy's 
fire was heavy, shrapnel shells and machine-gun and rifle bullets 
sweeping the line of advance. Major Norton (D Company) was 
hit and the command devolved upon Captain Duck. Companies 




ATTACK CHOCOLATE HILL 



then became more or less split up owing to casualties, the heavy 
fire being directed upon them and the small party of Dublin 
Fusiliers scattered about under cover. The battalion was, there- 
fore, reorganised and B and A Companies prepared for the assault. 

One officer and a few men of the Dublin Fusiliers joined 
themselves to the two forward companies of the Lincolnshire, 
who, now under a heavy rifle-fire, began the assault of the hill. 
In short rushes they advanced up the slopes until they reached 
some dead ground about one hundred yards from the crest. 
Here they halted under cover for half an hour whilst the divisional 
artillery and machine-gun sections played upon the Turkish 
positions above. 

The order to charge was given and, with a rush and cheering 
146 



ISMAIL OGLU TEPE [AU0 . 7TH , ms 

wildly, the Turkish redoubt and trenches on the top of the hill 
were carried. Many Turks and a German officer were shot 
down or bayoneted. A few escaped down a communication 
trench on the reverse slope of the hill. Captain Duck and 
Lieutenant L. Webber were the first to penetrate the enemy's 
line, but the latter unfortunately was shot through the heart and 
bayoneted upwards through the groin as he was actually crossing 
the fire trench. 

Chocolate Hill was captured by the 6th Lincolnshire Regi- 
ment ; after the fighting was over, and the positions were being 
consolidated and prepared against counter-attack another bat- 
talion came up. 

The casualties of the battalion in this attack were as follows : 
Besides Lieutenant Webber, Major D'A.M. Fraser had been 
killed, and Major Norton and Lieutenant C.C. Downes (died of 
wounds nth November, I9I5)> 2nd Lieutenants Bird and 
Hemsley wounded. The losses in other ranks were approxi- 
mately eighty-four. The Lincolnshire had every reason to be 
proud of this, their first fight with the enemy. 

During the night Chocolate Hill was taken over by the 31st 
Brigade and the Lincolnshire and Borders were ordered back 
early on the morning of the 8 th to Divisional Reserve at Lala Baba. 
There is another point concerning the capture of Chocolate 
Hill by the 6th Lincolnshire which has hardly been appreciated. 
It was one of the brightest spots in a day of otherwise gloomy 
disappointment. Chocolate Hill and Karakol Dagh were the 
most important captures of the 7th August. A secure footing 
has been obtained on the shores of Suvla, but little else. " More 
might well have been done, for the ' W ' Hills had not been 
attacked, and we were still a long way from Anafarta village." 

After the assault, the officer temporarily in command of the 
Lincolnshire (Captain Hansen, later awarded the V.C.) and an 
officer of the Borders, reconnoitred to the front, and actually 
reached Ismail Oglu Tepe (Hill W) without opposition. This 
hill was never captured, and its possession by the Turks cost 
thousands of lives. The Officer Commanding the Lincolnshire 
asked permission to take the hill whilst it was possible, as the 
men were full of fight, but received a written order to withdraw 
to Lala Baba. 

The line of the 1 ith and 10th Divisions on the night of the 
7th August ran approximately from about Hetman Chair, across 
Chocolate Hill to Scimitar Hill and Sulajik, thence west of 
Kuchuk Anafarta Ova to Kiretch Tepe Sirt. The 9th Sherwood 
Foresters, 33rd Brigade, were still entrenching on a line from 
south-eastern corner of the Salt Lake to B Beach. 

When the landing took place at Suvla Bay on the 6th /7th 

147 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

August there were very few Turkish troops in the Suvla and 
Ejelmer areas, including those in the Anafarta villages.^ The 
hours before their reinforcements could arrive were priceless. 
The daylight hours of the 8th August held all the possibilities 
of success. It is a matter of history that a great opportunity was 
lost when the Expeditionary Force failed to advance to the 
heights. 

During the 8th August the Lincolnshire and Borders were in 
Divisional Reserve, at Lala Baba, making trenches, which faced 
north, north-east and east, round the spurs of the hill. Though 
•naturally tired, they had plenty of food and enough water. They 
were elated with their success at Chocolate Hill and hoped to 
advance against Hill W during the day. 

In the course of the afternoon, the Brigade Commander 
(Maxwell) received personal instructions from the Commander 
of the nth Division (Hammersley) for an attack at dawn on the 
Anafarta Ridge, Hill W and Anafarta, on a frontage of about a 
mile. It was explained to him that little opposition was expected. 
The position to be attacked was pointed out by the Brigadier to 
the Commanding Officers of the Lincolnshire, Borders and South 
Staffords in daylight, and written orders sent out about 9 p.m. 
The Brigadier was informed that the high ground from Scimitar 
Hill to the north, and the west of Anafarta, was held by our 
troops, so that his left flank was secure. In view of the nature of 
the ground and extent of front a direct frontal attack was the only 
one possible. 

The three battalions (Border Regiment, South Staffords and 
Lincolnshire, in that order from right to left) were to attack the 
" Anafarta Ridge exclusive of Ismail Oglu Tepe and village of 
Anafarta Sagir the frontage being about 1,800 yards." 

The 6th Lincolnshire and 6th Border were to rendezvous on 
the western side of Chocolate Hill, moving by the southern side 
of Salt Lake. They were then to move to their positions of 
deployment on each side of the 7th South Staffords. The latter 
battalion was already practically on its position of deployment, 
supposed to be covered by troops holding Hill 70, or Scimitar 

The 6th Dublin Fusiliers (31st Brigade), attached to the 33^ 
Brigade, were to support the South Staffords or the flank 
battalions as required. 

At 2 a.m. on 9th the battalion left bivouacs near Lala Baba 
and moved along the southern side of Salt Lake to Chocolate 
Hill, where a short halt was called. But hardly had the troops 
begun to advance on Ismail Oglu Tepe, i.e., Hill W, when heavy 

x The troops holding Scimitar Hill were withdrawn during the night of 8th/9tb 
August and the 33rd Brigade was not informed. 
I48 



ANAFARTA RIDGE [ AU g. 9th, 1915 

rifle-fire broke out from the north-east and, at the same time, the 
Turkish guns began to shell Chocolate Hill. No British troops 
were in front of the Lincolnshire, South Staffords or Borders — 
the Pioneer Battalion (West Yorkshire) had been withdrawn-r- 
and Scimitar Hill was now held by the Turks, whose reinforce- 
ments had at last arrived : they had swept down from the 
heights and had occupied all the vantage points. 

As soon as the rifle-fire (it was about 4.10 a.m.) opened on 
them the attacking troops deployed, the Lincolnshire into two 
lines of half battalions on a front of five hundred yards. A Com- 
pany on the right, supported by D, and B on the left supported 
by C. The guides who led the battalion forward now informed 
the Commanding Officer that his companies were about one 
hundred yards too much to the right. The direction was cor- 
rected and the attack proceeded towards the Anafarta Ridge. 
But it was already doubtful if the final objective could be reached. 
Hill 70 was obviously held by the enemy in force. 

The story of that attack is contained in the words of the 
Commanding Officer, 6th Lincolnshire Regiment (Lieut.-Colonel 
M.P.. Phelps) : 

" The battalion reached this point " (Hill 70) " which I had 
been told was held by one of our regiments " (the West York- 
shire), " which information I had passed on to company com- 
manders. When firing started I immediately went to the leading 
companies, who pushed on, taking up a position along the forward 
head of the hill. I there heard that the West Yorkshire had 
retired from the hill and D Company was forced to turn half 
left to meet an attack from the enemy on the flank. Casualties 
began at once. I went to ' O ' where I found the line held, but 
under very accurate and close, if not heavy, fire, both from the 
front of B and the high ground beyond. I then went to the left 
flank (near I.X.), where the men were quite steady and shooting 
hard. There were many casualties from fire from A and the 
high ground beyond it. I then fixed on a central point as 
Battalion Headquarters. I and my Adjutant were there at 
intervals during the entire action and sent messages from there. 
A few reinforcements now began to arrive, a company or less at 
a time, and went into the firing line. I then sent a report to 
Headquarters asking for more reinforcements and ammunition. 
I then went to X, where I found Major Yool of the South 
Staffordshire Regiment. The trenches were full of dead and 
wounded, and I believe this corner was hardly held all day, as 
no one cared to go through the brush. As I returned, there 
was a rush of men to the rear, belonging to other battalions sent 
as reinforcements, which I, helped by Captain Hansen and 
Captain Duck managed to stop, sending all these men back to 

149 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the firing line. There were several of these rushes (seven or 
eight ; two at B), all of which we managed to stop, taking the 
men back to the firing line. All the time shrapnel was bursting 
among the men from the right front, this added to the casualties. 
Fire came directly from the rear and pitched amongst the men 
There is no doubt that this came from our own guns." (There 
is a difference of opinion about this.' — Ed.) 

" During this time three small fires started at I and 2, but 
died down. A further fire started now, however, and got a 
good hold of the scrub, driving back the men in the firing line 
and making it almost impossible to see. Unfortunately there 
were far too many wounded to bring away. At 12.15 p.m. I 
reluctantly gave the order to withdraw, taking as many wounded 
as we could. There were then only twenty-three men left on 
the hill, 1 mostly men of the battalion. I retired on a trench 
about three hundred yards in rear and took over a section of the 
defence, which we immediately consolidated." 

" Our losses were twelve officers killed, wounded and missing, 2 
three hundred and ninety-one rank and file, out of seventeen 
officers and five hundred and sixty-one rank and file who ori- 
ginally started out, leaving the battalion five officers and one 
hundred and seventy-four rank and file strong." 

No sooner had the Lincolnshire reached their new line than 
Captain P.H. Hansen, the Adjutant, calling for volunteers to 
assist him, dashed back through clouds of smoke and a stream of 
bullets into the burning scrub, which by now gave off a terrific 
heat. He did this to save wounded men from being burned 
alive. Six times he went three hundred yards into that inferno 
and rescued six men from a most horrible death. He was 
awarded the V.C. 3 Lance-Corporal A.H. Breeze and two others 
who went out with Captain Hansen were awarded the D.C.M. 
Many wounded were burned alive ; none of the battalion missing 
were ever seen again. 

The line formed by the Lincolnshire, just in rear of the burning 
scrub, ran roughly from Hill 50 to Sulajik : here the 33rd Brigade 
dug in during the night, joining up on the left with troops of the 
3 2nd Brigade. The losses of the Lincolnshire have already been 

1 " Several were killed on our way back." 

2 The officers killed were .- Captains P.L. Browne and J.T. Lewis, Lieutenants T.G. 
Parian, G.M Hewart, K.J.W. Peake, R.L. Cooke ; R.D. Foster and R.L. Hornsby were 
presumed killed, they were missing and never seen again ; wounded Major W.E.W. 
Elkmgton, Captain A.C. Croydon, Lieutenant C.H.A. French. Lieutenant C.C. 
Downes was wounded on the 7th in the attack on Chocolate Hill and died of his wounds 
on the nth. 

z London Gazette, 1/10/15. "For most conspicuous bravery on 9 th August, 191$, at 
Ydghm Burnu, Galkpoli Penmsula.". . . This officer was also awarded the M.C. of 
GaUipoli, 9/10/15. Captain A.C. Croydon and Captain F.R, Duck were awarded the 
M.C. on August 9th. 

I50 



SCIMITAR HILL [aug. 2 ist, i 9 r 5 

given : the 6th Border Regiment came out of action with about 
one hundred and eighty men. Of the Brigade Staff, the Brigade 
Major (Major F.G. Spring, Lincolnshire Regiment) and the 
Signalling Officer were wounded. 

During the night of the 8th/9th and early morning of the 9th 
August the 53rd (T) Division arrived in Suvla Bay and dis- 
embarked. On the 10th another attempt was made to take the 
Anafarta Ridge which failed. The troops employed were the 
newly-arrived 53rd Division. 

The 53rd Division advanced under shell-fire and reached a 
front two hundred yards from the summit of the Hill. Their 
right, .however, appeared to swing north instead of keeping 
direction south-east and the advance stopped. Another attack 
during the afternoon also failed and the Lincolnshire and other 
battalions of the 33rd Brigade held on to the front they had 
occupied the previous day. 

On the 1 2 th the battalion was relieved and moved back to 
the beach for a rest, where it remained until the night of the 
20th /21st August, when it returned to the line to take part in 
the battle described in the next chapter. So weak were the 
Lincolnshire in numbers that they were reorganised into two 
companies. 



II 

THE BATTLE OF SCIMITAR HILL I 2 1 ST AUGUST, -I915 
THE ATTACK ON ISMAIL OGLU TEPE 

After the failure of the attack by the 53rd Division on the 
10th, nth and 12th August, the Turks entrenched all their 
positions which commanded Suvla Bay, so that every part of it 
was exposed to the fire of their guns. Reinforcements for the 
Turks could be brought from the rear without being exposed 
to view or fire ; but not a man of the British could cross the 
Salt Lake, the main approaches, or certain of the beaches without 
being seen and fired at. 

General de Lisle having taken over the command of the forces 
at Suvla, another attack on Ismail Oglu Tepe was contemplated. 
The troops at his disposal already on the spot were the 10th 
Division (less one brigade),and the 1 ith, 53rd and 54th Divisions, 
reduced by casualties to a total strength of about thirty thousand 
rifles ; these were reinforced before the battle by the 2nd Yeo- 
manry Division (without horses) from Egypt, and the 29th 
Division from the southern area of the Gallipoli Peninsula. 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Ismail Oglu Tepe, which, had defied previous attempts 1 to 
capture it, formed the south-western corner of the Anafarta 
Sagir Spur. It was a strong, natural barrier, protecting the 
Anafartas against invasion from the west. The hill rose some 
three hundred and fifty feet from the plain, with steep spurs 
jutting out to the west and south-west.' The great difficulty in 
storming the hill was that the slopes were covered with dense 
holly-oak scrub, so thick as to break up an attack and force the 
troops to advance in single file along the goat tracks between the 
bushes. 

West of Ismail Oglu Tepe there was a strongly fortified 
Turkish redoubt at Hetman Chair, from which communication 
trenches led back to the former hill, There was another 
Turkish trench, which ran in an almost southerly direction,, but 
slightly south-east, towards Susak Kuyu, held as an advanced 
post by the Turks. 

The attack was timed to take place at 3 p.m. on the 21st 
August. The orders for the attack were that whilst the 53 rd 
and 54th Divisions held the enemy from Sulajik to Kiretch Tepe, 
the 1 ith Division on the right and the 29th on the left were to 
storm Ismail Oglu Tepe. The left of the Anzac Corps was to 
co-operate by swinging forward its left to Susak Kuyu and 
Kaiajik Aghala. The 32nd and 34th Brigades of the nth 
Division, 34th on the right and 32nd on the left, were to attack 
and capture Hetman Chair, and the 33rd Brigade was to drive 
home the attack through the "C " of Hetman Chair, that is over 
the highest point of the hill, 

_ The battalions of the 33 rd Brigade advanced in artillery forma- 
tion from Lala Baba, Sherwood Foresters leading, followed by the 
Borders, South Staffords and Lincolnshire, in that order, soon 
after 3 p.m. The South Staffords and Lincolnshire were so 
weak in numbers that they were organized in two companies 
instead of four. The Brigade was advancing when a large force 
in close formation, the 2nd Yeomanry Division, suddenly ap- 
peared from the south-eastern corner of Lala Baba and broke 
through the line of march of the South Staffords, in front of 
whom was Brig.-General Maxwell, with the rear company of the 
Borders. At the same moment the Turks opened heavy artillery 
fire, which not only caused very heavy casualties amongst the 
Yeomanry and others, but started a bush fire, which still further 
disorganized the advance of the 33rd Brigade. The South 
Staffords and the Lincolnshire bore away to the right to avoid 
the area beaten by the Turkish artillery fire. The Lincolnshire, 
less two platoons which followed the South Staffords, soon 
regained the true direction, and reached their correct place in the 

x See p. X47 reconnaissance by Captain Hansen after capture of Chocolate Hill.. 
*5* 



HETMAN CHAIR 



[aug. aiST, 1915 



fire zone, where in due course the Brigade Commander found 
them. 

The 32nd Brigade, which was intended to attack and capture 
Hetman's Chair, lost direction and moved to the south of it ; 1 
consequently the attempt was made by the Sherwoods and 
Borders of the 33rd Brigade, but failed, both battalions losing 
their Commanding Officers. Lieut.-Colonel Bosanquet was 
killed almost inside the redoubt, and Lieut.-Colonel Broaderick 
a little to the north of Hetman Chair. Lieut.-Colonel Phelps 
with about eighty men of the Lincolnshire remained in their fire 
trench by the order of Brig.-General Maxwell, as it was not 
feasible to attack with them ; both flanks were in the air, and 



OUR mONT UHCTR ENGHES^ 



CHOCOLATE 

hi a. ^ 



s S.Staf fords deviation 
(which took about ■ 
2 platoons of our 
men- with ft) 




From a sketch by Mdjar Hansen V.C. 



there was no reserve behind them nearer than Lala Baba. 
The 29th Division, on the left of the nth, were also unsuccess- 
ful in their attack on Scimitar Hill. 

The Brigade Diary gives the losses of the Lincolnshire on the 
2 1 st /22 nd August as four other ranks killed, twenty-two wounded 
and six missing. At night on the 22nd the 33rd Brigade. was 
relieved and marched back to Lala Baba ; here it remained for 
three or four days, until it moved to Karakol Dagh. There is 
a difference of opinion as to whether the Lincolnshire remained 
with the rest of the Brigade or marched at once to Karakol Dagh. 

The numbers of the 33 rd Brigade were so reduced by 

1 See Ian Hamilton's Despatch, dated the nth December, 1915. _ " The Attack of the 
21st August," where it is stated that : " The 33rd Brigade sent up in haste with orders to 
capture this communication trench at all costs fell into precisely the same error, part of 
it marching north-east, and part south-east to Susak Kuyu." Brig-General Maxwell 
denies this in the most emphatic manner. The 33rd Brigade were not sent up in haste 'to 
capture anything. What actually occurred is told here. 

J 53 



HISTORY, OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

casualties that it was temporarily organized into two battalions, 
the Lincolnshire and Borders forming No. I Battalion under the 
command of Captain F.P. Duck, of the Lincolnshire, and the 
South Staffords and Sherwood Foresters forming No. 2 Battalion 
under the command Captain P.H. Hansen, also of the Lincoln- 
shire. 



Ill 

THE EVACUATION OF SUVLA : I9TH/2OTH DECEMBER, I9I5 

With the exception of a brilliant affair on the 24th August, 
whereby the capture of Hill 60 (begun on the 21st August) was 
completed by the Anzac Corps, there are no further operations 
on the Gallipoli Peninsula to record. The gallant troops— or 
rather the survivors — who had landed' at Suvla on the night 
6th /7th August, full of enthusiasm and expectation, were now 
doomed to that unenviable existence in front-line trenches, 
fighting disease as well as the enemy, known as trench warfare. 
; After .a few days rest at Lala Baba the 33 rd Brigade relieved 
the 1 6 1st Brigade oh Kiretch Tepe Sirt, where the brigade line 
straddled the high ridge, the culminating point of which was 
Jefferson's Post. Here, as on other parts of the battle-front, 
the digging of trench systems had begun. But the ground was 
very hard, with only two feet of soil above the solid rock, 
which could not be penetrated by digging. The defences, 
therefore, in many places consisted of breastworks, insecure 
against rifle-fire. Of dug-outs there were none, only rough 
bivouacs made by digging out a square hole, covered with 
a waterproof sheet. Much hard work was necessary before the 
trenches were anything like secure, but the earth soon became 
scarred by breastworks and burrowings, which on the trench 
maps are marked by such* homely names as Hampstead Heath, 
Oxford Street, Marble Arch and Clapham Junction. 

Sniping and bombing now became part of the normal existence 
of a battalion in the front line : patrol work was carried out at 
night. But the worst enemy was sickness. Dysentery quickly 
became prevalent and was continually sapping the strength of all 
units. The carrying of stores from the beaches was a terrible 
strain on men already weakened by disease : water was scarce, 
and luxuries and food parcels sent out from England were stolen 
at the base or on the way up. Food consisted of bully beef, gone 
liquid with the heat, brackish water, ration biscuits and dessicated 
vegetables. Fresh meat and bread were issued twice a week. 
154 



THE BLIZZARD [ NO v. *6th, i 9 i 5 

The flies were intolerable, and it became quite an art to swallow 
a mouthful without swallowing at least six flies at the same time. 
The stench of the dead, many unburied, was quite nauseating 
and always prevalent. The one saving grace was the sea bathing, 
which was not interfered with by the Turks. And yet, in spite 
of all these disabilities and afflictions, the spirit of the men was 
unbroken. 

" Sickness, the legacy of a desperately trying summer," 
records the official despatches, " took heavy toll of the survivors 
of so many arduous conflicts. No longer was there any question 
of operations on the grand scale, but with such troops it was 
difficult to be down-hearted. AH ranks were cheerful : all 
remained confident that, so long as they stuck to their guns, their 
country would stick to them and see them victoriously through 
the last and greatest of the crusades." 

The 33 rd Brigade Diary for September notes that Captain 
P.H. Hansen, 6th Lincolnshire Regiment, who had been 
awarded the V.C. for rescuing the wounded during the actions 
of the 9th/ioth August, received the M.C. for making a daring 
reconnaissance. 1 

On the 10th September Lieut.-Colonel Phelps went down 
with dysentery. Captain Hansen then assumed command of the 
battalion, but a fortnight later he too succumbed to dysentery. 
Captain Cannell then assumed temporary command until on the 
17th October Major G.H.St. Hill of the North Devon Hussars 
arrived. 

Reinforcements of officers and men were frequently received, 
but they were not able to hold out long against disease and 
sooner or later they succumbed to dysentery. 

Up to the 26th November the weather had been hot and 
sultry, but on that date a terrible blizzard swept the whole of 
Suvla. Torrents of rain fell, completely flooding the trenches. 
Several men were drowned. A number of men sheltering in an 
excavation in the cliff-side were swept down into the sea. Friend 
and foe alike were involved in this catastrophe, and had to fight 
the elements instead of one another. The rain turned to snow, 
which was followed by nine degrees of frost, as a result of which 
over one hundred men of the Lincolnshire went down suffering 
agonies from frost-bite. 

Early in December rumours were current that the Peninsula 
was to be evacuated, but still men dug as hard as ever on the 

1 " He made a reconnaissance of the coast, stripping himself and carrying only a revolver 
and a blanket for disguise. He swam and scrambled over rocks, -which severely cut and 
bruised him, and obtained some valuable information and located a gun which was causing 
much damage. The undertaking was hazardous. On one occasion he met a patrol of 
twelve Turks, who did not see him, and later a single Turk whom he kiEed. He returned 
to our lines in a state of great exhaustion." (London Gazette, 29th October, 1915.) 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

defences. Rumour turned to fact when it was observed that 
gradually stores and men were being removed and embarked. 
At last the order came : the evacuation of Suvla Bay was carried 
out on the night of the 20th /21st December. 

On the last night the Lincolnshire held the front line. Leaving 
behind a few lights, fires and various contrivances which fired 
rifles at intervals, to make the Turks believe the trenches were 
still held, the battalion, under cover of a rearguard, withdrew in 
parties to the second line. There gaps were closed in the wire 
entanglements and a withdrawal was made to the third line and 
so on. 

The whole battalion embarked without a casualty, the General 
Officer Commanding Division (General Fanshawe) being the last 
to leave Suvla Bay. Before the last lighter left, all dumps were 
lighted and the Turks shelled them heavily. Then, as the small 
vessels put out to sea for Imbros, troops crowded upon their 
decks, dense clouds of smoke and flames accompanied by the 
blaze from bursting shells, formed a spectacle which none who 
saw it are ever likely to forget. 

On the 2r st the Lincolnshire reached Imbros and were soon 
settled in camp. Major Elkington shortly afterwards returned 
from Egypt and took over command of the battalion from Major 
St. Hill, the latter returning to his regiment. Training occupied 
the Lincolnshire until the 28th January, 1916, when they em- 
barked for Mudros. 

Re-embarking on the " Tunisian " on the 30th, they set sail 
for Egypt. Arrived at Alexandria on the 2nd of February, they 
disembarked, marched to Ramleh Station and entrained for Sidi 
Bishr Camp — a vast area of tents. 



156 



PART FIVE 
THE BATTLES OF THE SOMME 1916 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



BATTLES OF THE SOMME [l9l6 

I 

THE BATTLE OF ALBERT : IST-I3TH JULY 

THE situation of the Allies by the end of May 191 6 was 
such that the combined French and British offensive which 
had already been decided on, in principle, could not be 
postponed beyond the end of June. The object of that offensive 
was three-fold : 

1. To relieve the pressure of the Germans against the 
French at Verdun. The heroic defence of our French Allies 
had already gained many weeks of inestimable value, and caused 
the enemy very heavy losses ; but the strain continued to increase. 

2. To assist our Allies in other theatres of war by stopping 
any further transfer of German troops from the Western Front. 

3. To wear down the strength of the troops opposed to us. 1 
Preparations for the offensive were on an elaborate scale, and 

every officer and man on the Somme during the months which 
preceded the attack, spent strenuous days and nights in main- 
taining the defences when in the line, and in digging communica- 
tion and assembly trenches and dug-outs, collecting huge stocks 
of ammunition and stores into dumps, assisting in the construc- 
tion of many miles of railways and trench tramways when back 
m the so-called rest areas. All this additional work had to be 
performed as well as constant training and practising the 
attack. And to the eternal glory of the British soldier, let it 
be said that the very heavy strain imposed upon him was borne 
with a wonderful cheerfulness. 

The enemy's position to be attacked was situated on a high 
undulating tract of ground, which rises to more than five hundred 
feet above sea levd, and forms the watershed between the Somme 
on the one side and the rivers of south-western Belgium on the 
other. 

The German defences along their front, were of a very 
powerful nature. There were two main systems each consisting 
of several lines of deep trenches, well provided with bomb-proof 
shelters and dug-outs, of such- depth as to provide immunity 
from the heaviest shell-fire. Until we saw the German dug-outs 
on the Somme in 1 9 1 6, we did not know how to build them : 
nothing we had hitherto constructed compared with those 
wonderful shelters, often thirty feet below ground level. In, and 
between, the enemy's system of trenches, villages and woods 
had been converted into veritable fortresses : salients in his 
front-line trenches had been turned into self-contained forts, 
from which he could sweep No Man's Land with a murderous 

1 Despatch of the z^rd December 1916, para. 2. 

159 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

machine-gun and rifle-fire, whilst behind his front line strong 
redoubts and concrete emplacements had been built, from which 
he could sweep his own trenches should these be taken. _ Finally, 
barbed-wire entanglements, constructed of iron stakes interlaced 
with wire, often almost as thick as a man's finger, the belt in 
places forty yards wide, protected the front line of each system. 
To add to the difficulty to be encountered by troops attacking 
the German trenches, the latter between the Somme and the 
Ancre were sited on higher ground than ours.- We had good 
direct observation on his front system, but, speaking generally, 
his second system could not be observed excepting from the air. 
North of the Ancre the command of ground was practically even, 
but our direct observation over his ground was not so good as 
farther south. 

The particular sections of the battle front of interest to the 
Lincolnshire Regiment on the ist July were from (and including) 
Fricourt to Ovillers, and the Gommecourt Salient. The German 
positions in the first section were to be assaulted by the 2 ist 
Division (with attached troops from the 17th Division), 34th 
and 8 th Divisions (in that order from right to left), while in the 
other section the 46th Division and the 56th Division were to 
attack and pinch off the Gommecourt Salient. Thus, no less 
than seven battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment 1 were in the 
' front line on the i st July. 

The village of Fricourt formed a salient in the enemy's line. 
It lay upon a slight eminence and the Germans had turned the 
place "into a very strong position. Behind the village was 
Fricourt Wood, and north of it several more woods and copses, 
all adapted for defensive purposes. Between Fricourt and La 
Boisselle, No Man's Land • broadened out and was in places 
eight hundred yards wide. La Boisselle and Ovillers also formed 
salients in the hostile lines, both villages, like Fricourt, being 
built on high ground. Between Fricourt and La Boisselle, and 
the latter village and Ovillers, were two valleys, i.e., Sausage and 
Mash Valleys respectively. It will be obvious, therefore, that 
attacking troops crossing No Man's Land in these two areas 
would be subjected not only to frontal, but also enfilade fire : and 
the Germans were expert in sighting their guns for such purposes. 
The preliminary bombardment opened on the 24th June. No 
less than one thousand five hundred and thirteen guns were con- 
centrated on the enemy's trenches, to cut his wire entanglements 
and generally render his defences useless; With awe, not un- 

_ x ist Battalion 62nd Brigade, 21st Division 5 8th Battalion, 63rd Brigade, 21st Divi- 
sion ; 2nd Battalion, 25th Brigade, 8th Division ; 10th Battalion, 101st Brigade, 34th 
Division j 1/4A and i/^th Battalions, 138th Brigade, 46th Division, and 7th Battalion, 
51st Brigade, 17th Division. 

l60 



THE SOMME BOMBARDMENT [jULr IST , I9l6 

mingled with satisfaction, the troops watched thousands of shells 
burst over and upon the enemy's lines, throwing up clouds of 
earth and debris. Day after day, with relentless fury, our guns 
continued to pour a stream of shells upon the trenches across 
No Man's Land, until they resembled a mere rubbish heap : 
but below ground the enemy's troops, sheltered in deep dug-outs, 
were safe even from the enormous shells of our "heavies." In no 
less than forty places gas was discharged on the hostile trenches. 
In the air every German observation balloon was destroyed and 
driven to ground : the enemy's sight was blinded. Raids were 
constantly made and patrols sent out to reconnoitre the con- 
dition of the enemy's defences : all returned with the same 




THE SOMME BOMBARDMENT 



information — the wire was well cut and the German trenches^ in 
an appalling condition. To all the shelling the enemy replied 
fitfully : he had only approximately two hundred and forty guns 
on the Somme front at this period and was unable to reply 
adequately to the fierce fire of his opponents. 

Originally intended for the 29th of June, zero hour was 
postponed until 7.30 a.m. on the 1st of July. The 2 1st Division 
was to attack due east just north of Fricourt, whilst the 7th 
Division (on the right of the 21st) was attacking Mametz : the 
two divisions were then to join hands just east of the former 
village, and Fricourt and Fricourt Wood were to be cleared. 
The attack of the 21st Division was to be made by the 63rd 
M 161 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Brigade on the right and the 64th Brigade on the left : the 62 nd 
Brigade in Divisional Reserve, and supplying troops for carrying 
purposes. 

The first objective of the Division was a line running through 
Fricourt Farm, the trench junction just east of the Farm, thence 
Crucifix Trench to Birch Tree Wood : the 63rd Brigade was to 
capture the southern half of the objective, i.e., Fricourt Farm, 
then half-way along Crucifix Trench to opposite the southern 
end of Shelter Wood. This operation was allotted to the 4th 
Middlesex on the right and 8th Somerset on the left. The 
second objective of the 63rd Brigade was roughly a north and 
south line east of Bottom Wood to the Quadrangle : the 10th 
York and Lancaster on the right and the 8 th Lincolnshire on 
the left, were to capture the second objective, passing through 
the troops on the first objective. One company of the 8th Lin- 
colnshire was to advance immediately in rear of the Somerset, 
clear the German front-line trenches and fall in behind the 
remainder of the battalion when it advanced. 

On the left of the 21st Division the 34th Division was to 
capture the line Birch Tree Wood (exclusive) and Bailiff Wood 
as its first objective, a line north and west of Contalmaison as a 
second objective, and Contalmaison village and a line running 
north-west from Acid Drop Copse as its third objective. As an 
officer of the 34th Division said : " This meant an advance of 
about three thousand five hundred yards on a front of about two 
thousand, capturing two fortified villages and six lines of trenches, 
which it was known were well provided with deep dug-outs and 
made as strong as an industrious enemy could make them after 
two years of constant labour." {Lieut. -Colonel J. Shakespear, 
C.M.G., CLE., D.S.O., in " The Thirty-Fourth Division 191c- 
1919.") 

The 34th Division was to attack with the 101st Brigade on 
the right and the 102nd Brigade on the left. Of the former 
brigade the 15th Royal Scots were on the right and the 10th 
Lincolnshire on the left : these two battalions were to capture 
the first objective. The second objective was to be captured by 
the reserve battalion of the two leading brigades. The third 
objective was to be captured by the 103rd Brigade. 

The 8 th Division, on the left of the 34th, was to attack with 
all three brigades in the front line, 23rd Brigade on the right, 
25th Brigade in the centre and 70th Brigade on the left. The 
final objective allotted to the Division was a north and south 
line east of Pozieres, the attack of the three brigades in the first 
instance being directed against the German trenches from half-way 
between La Boisselle and Ovillers, to opposite the north-eastern 
corner of Authuille Wood. They also had three villages to 
162 



THE 4TH & 5TH LINCOLNSHIRE [,uly IS t, m e 

capture, i.e., Ovillers, La Boisselle and Pozieres. The 2nd 
Lincolnshire were to attack on the left of the 25th Brigade front, 
having on their right the 2nd Royal Berkshires. 

In the subsidiary attack at Gommecourt, the 56th Division 
was to attack the salient from the south and the 46th Division 
from the north, the two attacks converging. At this period 
Gommecourt formed a salient in the enemy's trench system 
north of Hebuterne. The village itself was protected by defences 
of great strength : west of the village was Gommecourt Park, 
similarly protected by powerfully-defended trenches. The whole 
salient was a position very difficult to assault. The objects of the 
attack in this part of the line were to draw the enemy's artillery 
fire and, if possible, his reinforcements to the salient, and gener- 
ally to distract his attention from the operations farther south. 

The 1 3 8th Brigade of the 46th Division (containing the 1 /4th 
and r / 5th Lincolnshire) did not attack in the initial stage of 
the operations, but remained in Divisional Reserve in the Corps 
Line ; the 1 /4th Battalion was, however, in the front line, for, on 
the night of 30th June, they dug a false trench in order to attract 
the enemy's fire next day when the attack took place south of 
Hebuterne. The r/5th Battalion attacked the enemy on the 
night of 1st July, as will be described later. 

Throughout the night 30th June- 1st July, there was a great 
activity along our front. Movement during daylight on the 
30th June was restricted to a minimum, but as soon as darkness 
fell every section of the line became as busy as a bee-hive, troops 
moving to their assembly positions, stores being carried forward 
for the formation of dumps, artillery ammunition collected in 
huge quantities near the guns, ration parties and medical units 
moving to their allotted positions, while the roads, railways and 
tramways behind the lines were crowded with transport of every 
description. Altogether a wonderful sight .were it possible to 
see it by daylight. All ranks were in a state of great excitement, 
and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed, for from patrol reports, it 
was evident that the enemy's trenches had been terribly knocked 
about and it was hardly credible that any living object could 
survive the terrible destruction created by our guns. It was 
anticipated that the going across No Man's Land would be easy 
and that the enemy's first system and possibly the second system 
of trenches also would fall rapidly into our hands. 

Zero hour for the attack was to be 7.30 a.m. 1st July, but long 
before that hour most of the troops had reached their assembly 
trenches and were waiting with whatever patience men waiting 
to attack possessed. 

Throughout the hours of darkness the guns continued their 
bombardment of the enemy's lines with unabated fury : no 

163 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

bombardment had ever equalled it up to that time on the 
Western Front. Ammunition was plentiful and the gunners 
revelled in the fact that they could use as much as they wished 
without question from higher authorities. 

Dawn broke with a slight mist over the battlefield. Just 
before zero mines were exploded and smoke was discharged at 
many places along the front. As the final intense bombard- 
ment opened at 6.2$ a.m., ladders and trench bridges were 
placed in position, ready for the infantry assault. 

At 7.25 a.m. (five minutes before zero) the leading platoons 
of the two front-line assaulting battalions of the 63rd Brigade, 
i.e., 4th Middlesex and 8th Somersets, with the foremost 
platoons of the two supporting battalions, 10th York and 
Lancaster on the right, and 8 th Lincolnshire on the left, left their 
trenches and attempted to crawl towards the German lines. But 
they were met by violent machine-gun fire, the volume of which 
was an unpleasant reminder that the enemy was still full of fight. 
The guns lifted at 7.30 a.m., and the general advance began. 
But again a murderous storm of machine-gun and rifle bullets 
swept No Man's Land and tore gaps in the gallant troops who 
were advancing in quick time across the space between the 
opposing trenches. Staff Officers described that advance as 
magnificent : there were no checks or halts, excepting those 
who fell to the ground dead or wounded ! 

Battered and tumbled shapeless masses of earth as were the 
German trenches, the occupants, sheltered in their deep dug- 
outs while our artillery barrage was on their trenches, rushed up 
as soon as the guns lifted and, quickly mounting their machine- 
guns on the lips of shell craters or on the ridges of mounds of 
churned up earth, met our men with terribly destructive fire. 

Both the Middlesex and the Somerset suffered heavy losses 
before they reached the German front line. Fifty per cent, of 
their numbers lay dead or wounded in No Man's Land. Yet, 
with indomitable pluck, the survivors reached the enemy's front 
line and passed over it towards the second objective, killing, 
wounding or taking prisoner every German encountered. Behind 
them, the York and Lancaster and Lincolnshire, who also had 
lost heavily, pressed on bravely in the face of that fierce fire. 

The 8th Lincolnshire (Lieut-Colonel R.H. Johnston) 
attacked with B and C Companies leading, supported by A 
Company ; D Company, following in rear as a carrying party 
with ammunition, bombs, picks and shovels and trench stores. 
The leading platoons lost quite half their number, but the 
survivors reached the German front line, where they were 
checked for the moment by machine-gun fire, but the battalion 
bombers got to work and the guns were quickly knocked out. 
164 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [, UL y ist, i 9I s 

The survivors, joined by successive platoons as they came up, 
swarmed over the battered German front line and, crossing 
Empress Trench and Empress Support, reached the sunken 
road. The number of officers and men who got thus far was 
not large, for a violent hostile barrage was by this time falling on 
No Man's Land and the supports had suffered heavily. 

In the enemy's front line, only a few German machine-gunners 
were met with and these were immediately killed. The bat- 
talions then worked their way down the German communication 
trenches by bombing. Dart Lane, Brandy Trench were cleared, 
and finally Lozenge Alley was reached. En route, every dug-out 



x+- 



Wood? ! 4 



SUNKEN ROAD .. 

-.-r.f.T-.T.,-,.^ f -. T .- | - | j-j- | -nr ! r-ir^.r:. J r.. ^p,- .""^ 






.8/Linc.B 1 ! rt 
HeADquART£RSM 



- 1 - * \ 
«. a. 



i a . Frlcourt \ 






% 



LOHEt-V TRENCH 



^Counterattacks 





Front held by 8/Uno.R. shown.. 



Lar» 



Sketch by I*. ColMnsteh. 



which contained hostile troops was bombed. The trenches 
themselves presented a terrible spectacle, being battered almost 
beyond recognition, and consisting only of a mass of craters. 

One Stokes gun still remained with the Lincolnshire and gave 
valuable assistance until the officer in charge and the team were 
knocked out. A Lewis gun team then arrived and lent great 
assistance in the advance. From crater to crater a party of the 
battalion under 2nd Lieutenant Kellet reached Lozenge Alley, 
where they began the work of consolidation, but a heavy German 
shrapnel barrage prevented further advance. In Lozenge Alley 
Lieutenant Kellett's party joined up with another party of 8th 
Lincolnshire under 2nd Lieutenant A.H. Hall : all told, the two 
parties numbered about one hundred. 



165 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Between 4 and 5 p.m. orders arrived from Divisional Head- 
quarters for all units of the 63rd Brigade to consolidate _ the 
positions they then held, and when darkness fell the positions 
of the four battalions were roughly as follows : 4th Middlesex, 
Empress Trench from Ball Lane and Empress Support ; 8th 
Somerset, in the western end of Lozenge wood, sunken road and 
Lozenge Alley ; 10th York and Lancaster, in Dart Lane ; 8 th 
Lincolnshire, from Dart Alley to (and including) Lozenge Alley. 
Throughout the night these positions were held, the 8th Lincoln- 
shire successfully repulsing a heavy bombing attack from the 
direction of Fricourt. 

The right flank of the Lincolnshire was attacked by the 
Germans from Fricourt up Lonely Trench. Lieut.-Colonel 
Johnston posted Lieutenant Preston at the junction of Lonely 
Trench with Lozenge Alley to guard this point, which he did 
excellently. The Germans got in once, thanks to their rifle 
grenades, but were quickly turned out, leaving some dead in 
Lozenge Alley, and at least twenty in Lonely Trench. Two 
German drums were captured here, and sent to the depot at 
Lincoln. 

Long before darkness had fallen the 1st Lincolnshire (Lieut.- 
Colonel D.H.F. Grant) of the 62nd Brigade (which it will be 
remembered was in reserve) had reached the German lines. The 
battalion, detailed to carry S.A.A.^ Mills grenades and Stokes 
mortar bombs, left the billets at Meaulte at 8 a.m., and moved to 
Bon Accord and Mareschail Streets, where loads were picked up. 
At 1.30 p.m., the carrying parties began to cross No Man's 
Land to thecaptured German front line, whence they proceeded 
to a dump immediately north of the eastern end of Patch Alley, 
on the sunken road. Having dumped their loads, companies 
returned to the old German front line (Sausage Trench), which 
they consolidated. This was very difficult, for the terrific effect 
of the British bombardment was evident in the shapeless masses 
of earth which had once been a trench. Moreover, hostile 
machine-gun and artillery-fire swept the position. At 6 p.m., 
orders came to reinforce the 64th Brigade. Companies of the 
1st Lincolnshire, therefore, proceeded as follows : B Company 
to Crucifix Trench, with D Company and the Bermuda Volunteer 
Rifle Contingent on their right, and A and C Companies in 
support in the sunken road, C joining up with troops of the 34th 
Division. The positions taken up had little appearance of having 
been consolidated, and the Lincolnshire spent most of the night 
digging hard. 

On the left of the 21st Division, the 34th Division had simi- 
larly met with considerable and costly resistance from the enemy. 
No Man's Land in front of the 2 1 st Division was, on the average, 
166 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [jm v ist, x 9 i6 

about four hundred yards wide, but along the front of the 34th 
Division it varied considerably, from about one hundred to one 
hundred and fifty yards in front, and just south of La Boisselle 
to some eight hundred yards north and south of the Salient. 

The 101st Brigade attacked on the right and the 102nd 
Brigade on the left. Of the former the 1 5th Royal Scots were 
on the right and the ioth Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel E.K. 
Cordeaux) on the left. The particular objective allotted to the 
Lincolnshire was that portion of the German front line known 
as The Bloater, which lay between the La Boisselle Salient and a 
redoubt called Heligoland. 

The Lincolnshire formed up on a three-company frontage, 
A on the right, B in the centre, C on the left. D, less one platoon 
detailed as a carrying party to advance in rear of the 103rd 
Brigade (in reserve). 

At 7.28 a.m., there was a terrific roar as a mine went up 
af the south-western corner of the La Boisselle Salient, forming 
an immense crater about one hundred yards in diameter. 
Punctually to the moment, the Royal Scots and ioth Lincolnshire 
advanced to the attack. The General Officer Commanding 
Division (Ingouville-Williams) said of the advance of his troops : 
" Never have I seen men go through such a barrage of artillery. 
. .. . They advanced as on parade and never flinched." The 
Germans put down a terrific barrage as the advance started. 

A stream of shrapnel and high explosive and intense enfilade 
machine-gun fire from La Boisselle and Heligoland (i.e., on both 
flanks) swept the battalions as they attempted to cross No Man's 
Land. With the utmost steadiness and courage not to be 
surpassed by any troops in the world, they gallantly tried to 
getacross that terrible space between the opposing lines. Some 
few men did indeed reach the German trenches from the New 
Crater and, bombing their way up, blocked it and helped to 
protect the right flank of the 102 nd Brigade ; others consolidated 
and held positions in the New Crater with a similar object. One 
officer — 2nd Lieutenant Hendin— with only three men, pushed 
forward on the right by way of the 21st Divisional area and, 
consolidating a strong point in the German trenches, helped to 
protect the left flank of that Division. 

Here and there a few officers and men of the ioth Lincolnshire 
got across No Man's Land and attached themselves to other 
units, but as a whole the battalion was hung up and could do 
no more. The Battalion Diary passes over the 2nd and 3rd of 
July, and merely states that : " The 34th Division was relieved 
by the 19 th Division in the early hours of the morning of the 4th 
of July, moving for the night to Albert and subsequently on the 
5th July to Henencourt." 

167 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

North of La Boisselle lay Mash Valley, dominated both by 
the village and also by Ovillers : this was the right flank of the 
8th Division, which attacked on the left of the 34th Division. 

The 8 th Division had all three brigades in the front line, 23rd 
on the right, 2,5th in the centre and 70th on the left. 

The centre lay opposite Ovillers and of the 25th Brigade the 
2nd Royal Berkshire were ordered to attack on the right and the 
2nd Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel R. Bastard) on the left, with 
the 1st Royal Irish Rifles in support and the 2nd Rifle Brigade 
in reserve. The northern half of Ovillers and three or four lines 
of powerfully-defended trenches formed the first objective of the 
25th Brigade. 




THE BATTLE OF ALBERT 



The battalion was in position by 3.30 a.m., two companies 
in the front line between Cartmael and Longridge, one company 
in Pendlehill and Cartmael and Battalion Headquarters with the 
remaining company in Waltney. Two patrols, one under 2nd 
Lieutenant Eld and the other under Lieutenant Ross, reported 
that the enemy's wire was well cut : the former officer and several 
men were wounded. 

At 6.25 a.m., when the intense bombardment began, the enemy 
replied with high-explosive shrapnel on the front-line and as- 
sembly trenches. Five minutes before zero the assaulting com- 
panies advanced from their assembly positions preparatory to the 
attack, all three companies getting their first two waves into No 
Man's Land and the third and fourth waves out at zero. This 
168 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [JULY IST , 191 e 

operation was carried out quickly and without a hitch, though 
they were observed and casualties were fairly heavy. 

The story of the gallant efforts made by the 2nd Lincolnshire 
to win through to their objective cannot be more fittingly told 
than in their own words : 

" As soon as the barrage lifted the whole assaulted. We were 
met with very severe rifle-fire and in most cases had to advance 
in rushes and return the fire. This fire seemed to come from 
the German second lines and the machine-gun fire from our left. 
On reaching the German front line we found it strongly held and 
were met with showers of bombs, but after a very hard fight 
about two hundred yards of German lines were taken about 
7.50 a.m. Our support company by this time joined in. The 
few officers that were left gallantly led their men over the German 
trench to attack the second line, but owing to the rifle and 
machine-gun fire could not push on. Attempts were made to 
consolidate and make blocks, but the trench was so badly knocked 
about that very little cover was obtainable. 

" We were actually in the German trenches for two or three 
hours, and captured a lot more trench on our right by bombing 
as well as repulsing a German counter-attack from their second 
line. It was impossible to hang on longer owing to shortage of 
ammunition, and no more bombs, as we had used up all our own 
as well as all the German bombs we could find in the trenches 
and dug-outs, and were being gradually squeezed out by their 
bombing attacks. A company of the Royal Irish Rifles made a 
most gallant attempt to come to our support, but only ten or 
twelve men succeeded in getting through the zone of terrific 
machine-gun fire. We went into the attack with twenty-two 
officers, all of whom were killed or wounded, except Leslie and 
myself, and we had bullet holes through our clothing. 

" During the time I had the honour of commanding the 2nd 
Battalion I never saw the men fight better ; they were magnifi- 
cent in the most trying and adverse conditions. The attack, 
though a failure, was a most glorious effort, and I was intensely 
proud of the battalion. 

" We first retired to shell-holes in ' No Man's Land ' and kept 
up fire on the trench we had left with ammunition we collected 
from the wounded. As it was obvious we could do no good 
there, we retired to our own trench and reorganised to be ready 
for another attack if required. 

" Orders were received from the 25th Brigade to withdraw to 
Ribble and Melling Streets and occupy the assembly dug-outs, 
which was done." {Lieut. -Colonel Reginald Bastard, D.S.O.) 
At 12 midnight the battalion was relieved and proceeded to 
Long Valley. 

169 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The Berkshire, on the right of the 2nd Lincolnshire, similarly 
failed to take their portion of Ovillers, while the 23 rd Brigade 
on the right of the 25th, had such terrible losses that the attacking 
battalions were almost wiped out. Indeed the 8th Division, as 
a whole, was relieved on the night ist/2nd July by the 12th 
Division and taken completely out of the line. 

In the attack on the Gommecourt Salient the 138th Brigade 
of the 46th Division (as already explained) was in reserve, the 
attack on the enemy's trenches being made by the 137th and 
139th Brigades. The attack by the 46th and 56th Divisions 
failed, though the troops advanced gallantly enough and entered 
the enemy's trenches. But the enemy put down a terrific barrage 
over No Man's Land, so that no supports could get through. 
The consequence was that the gallant fellows who entered the 
enemy's line could not be supported and were gradually wiped 
out or captured. 

The 1 /4th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel G.J. Barrell), though 
they made no attack, were in the front-line trenches, for on the 
night of the 30th June-ist July they dug a false trench in front 
of our line, to draw the enemy's fire. 

The battalion moved up to the front line on the night of the 
27th June, for the attack was originally intended for the 29th. 
On the latter date the battalion sent out a raiding party consisting 
of thirty-four other ranks, under Lieutenant C.N. Bond and 2nd 
Lieutenants E. Elliott and Quantrail. The raiders reached the 
enemy's wire, but were then discovered by German listening 
posts. Hostile troops swarmed out of the trenches and attempted 
to surround the Lincolnshire, but were stopped by rifle-fire and 
bombs. For an hour there was a desperate fight in No Man's 
Land, but at 12.30 a.m. the signal for withdrawal was given. 
Lieutenant C.N. Bond was wounded in the neck and died on the 
way to the dressing station : one other rank was slightly wounded. 

At 10.45 P- m -j on tne night of the 30th June, every man, with 
the exception of two per Lewis gun, began to dig the false trench 
in front of our wire. As much show as possible was made of the 
digging, though the trench dug was very shallow. The parapet 
was, however, made as obvious as possible. The diggers were 
back in their trenches by 1.30 a.m. 

During the operations on the following day (1st July) the 
battalion lost 2nd Lieutenant W.H.G. Eliot killed, and 2nd 
Lieutenants Gowers and Lee wounded : 2nd Lieutenant Skinner 
was evacuated suffering from shell shock. The 1 /4th were re- 
lieved at night by the London Scottish and moved to the Hannes- 
camp trenches. 

The 1 /5th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall) were 
at daybreak on the 1st of July in reserve in the Corps Line, one 
170 



THE 4 th & ^th LINCOLNSHIRE [JUL v IST , i 9 ,6 

thousand yards east of Souastre. At 8.30 a.m., the battalion 
moved forward to Midland Trench, west of Fonquevillers. In 
this position the day was spent, and though under shell-fire, only 
two casualties were suffered. 

At 8.30 p.m., Colonel Sandall received orders to send two 
officers per company to reconnoitre the German front line before 
Gommecourt Wood, which had been unsuccessfully attacked by 
the 137th Brigade. It was thought that parties of the 139th 
Brigade were still holding out in the enemy's trenches, and at 
1 1 p.m. the 1 /5th Lincolnshire were ordered to attack and con- 
solidate the German front line and get into touch if possible with 
any parties of the Sherwood Foresters, who might be still in the 
hostile trenches. 

At 9.30 p.m. the battalion left Midland Trench for the front 
line. Passing through Fonquevillers, companies moved slowly 
along the communication trenches, badly battered by shell-fire, 
with many dead bodies in them, and very congested by stragglers 
and wounded coming in from No Man's Land. It was 1 1 p.m. 
before company commanders received their orders from the 
Commanding Officer. The battalion was to attack in four lines 
of platoons on a four-company frontage, and as quickly as possible 
were drawn up in No Man's Land in that formation. Then 
there was a sudden change of orders, as the battalion was not 
to consolidate the enemy trench, but to retire as soon as touch 
had been obtained with the Sherwood Foresters, who were to be 
brought back. At 12 midnight (ist/2nd July), the front line 
of platoons went forward, but in the darkness lost touch almost 
immediately. Only two platoons reached the enemy wire, which 
was found uncut. The Germans were holding their trenches in 
force and very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was opened by 
them on the Lincolnshire, while flares and Verey lights now lit 
up the whole front line. It was obviously impossible to advance 
further and needless to risk the lives of brave men. The men 
were then ordered to lie down, but no retirement was made. 
The situation was then reported to the Brigade Commander, who 
informed Colonel Sandall that the General Officer Commanding 
Division insisted on another attack being made as soon as it 
could be reorganized. Under great difficulties this was done, 
but luckily before it could be launched the Divisional Commander 
reconsidered his decision and the i/^th Battalion was ordered 
to withdraw to the British front line. 

The battalion then retired, having lost one officer — Lieu- 
tenant G.F. Walcott — killed, and two officers— Lieutenants 
O.H.M. Lorenzon (who subsequently died of wounds) and J.J. 
Pearson — wounded ; forty-five other ranks had also become 
casualties. The i/fth had striven valiantly to carry out their 

171 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

orders : they had done all that could be done, but the position 
was much too strong for one battalion to attack with any chance 
of success. 

Numerous acts of gallantry are recorded of this attack. At 
4 a.m. on the ist July, just after dawn had broken, Lieutenant 
I. Welby saw a body move which lay about sixty yards in front 
of the trench. He went out and found an n.c.o. of the 
Sherwood Foresters just recovering consciousness. He returned 
and calling for two volunteers to help with a stretcher, again 
went out. But they were heavily sniped until the sniper was 
located and a Lewis gun from our trenches directed on him. 
Under cover of this fire, the man was brought in. Lieutenant 
Welby was awarded the M.C. and Lance-Corporal Bowness 
and Private Austin, who assisted him, the M.M. 

Sergeant S. Willerton, who was also awarded the M.M., took 
water to another n.c.o. of the Foresters, who was wounded 
one hundred yards in front, and placed the man in a shell 
hole, staying with him until 10.50 p.m., when, under cover of 
darkness, he assisted in bringing the n.c.o. in. Sergeant T.G. 
Goodchild, who went out close to the German wire in an un- 
successful search for the body of Lieutenant Wallcott, and for 
subsequent acts of gallantry, was awarded the D.C.M. Sergeant 
A. Coppin, too, for conspicuous gallantry in bringing in wounded 
men from No Man's Land, was awarded the M.M. 

On the night of the 3rd of July the 1 /5th were relieved and 
moved to Fonquevillers, where they relieved the nth Royal 
Warwickshire Regiment in the front-line trenches immediately 
north of those previously occupied. 

When darkness fell on the ist July, though the initial suc- 
cesses were not maintained, striking progress had been made at 
many points. For instance, though Fricourt had not been taken, 
its garrison was pressed on three sides; on the north side by the 
a 1 st Division, in which were the ist and 8th Battalions of the 
Lincolnshire. Further north, the 34th Division, 10th Battalion, 
and the 8th Division, 2nd Battalion, of the Lincolnshire had 
driven deeply into the German lines on the flanks of La Boisselle, 
and Ovillers. 

" In view of the general situation at the end of the first day's 
operations," Sir Douglas Haig " decided that the best course 
was to press forward on a front extending from our junction with 
the French to a point half-way between La Boisselle and Contal- 
maison, and to limit the offensive on our left, for the present, to a 
slow and methodical advance. North of the Ancre such prepra- 
tions were to be made as would hold the enemy to his positions, 
and enable the attack to be resumed there later if desirable." 
{Despatch of the lyd 'December \ 1 9 1 6, para. 9.) Terrible indeed 
172 



LINCOLNSHIRE CASUALTIES [JULY IST , I9l6 

were the losses of the Lincolnshire Regiment on the first day of 
the battle. The ist Battalion lost nine officers (Captain H. Mar- 
shall, Lieutenant G.A. Kirk, 1 2nd Lieutenants E.V. Edwards, 
W.H. Jacques, G.M. Rowlans, J J. Taylor, E.H. Catton, F.M. 
Robinson and P.T. Pryce) wounded, three other ranks killed, 
one hundred and five wounded and two missing — one hundred 
and nineteen all ranks. Of the 2nd Battalion, Captains W.F.G. 
Wiseman, S.H. Jeudwine, Lieutenants D.S. Ross, J.H. Tooles, 
C.G. Shaw, H.G.F. Clifford, 2nd Lieutenants H.W.H. Applin, 
J. Anstee, L.O. Sharp and twenty-six other ranks had been 
killed : Lieutenant H.H. Shearman 2 and 2nd Lieutenant C.C.W. 
Meyer 2 were so badly wounded that they died subsequently : 
Captain F.K. Griffith, Lieutenants C.C. Woodcock, H.E. 
Sowerby, J, Shdky, A.W. Eld, S.N. Carter, P.H. Gates, E.Q. 
Jemmet, S.T. Stevens and three hundred and three other ranks 
were wounded : eighty-nine other ranks were missing and 
twenty-five wounded and missing — in all a total of thirty officers 
and four hundred and forty-three other ranks. The 8th Bat- 
talion had lost Captain A.C. Jones, 2nd Lieutenants J.F. Cragg, 
W. Swift, R.L. Courtice, J.H. Parkinson and thirty other ranks 
killed, Captains E.R. Devonshire and R.G. Cordiner, Lieutenant 
G.G. LafFerty, 2nd Lieutenants E.G. Mitchell, M.G. Rowcroft, 
T.S. Boadle, A. Lill, H.F. Haward, and one hundred and seventy- 
one other ranks wounded, thirty-four other ranks were missing 
— thirteen officers and two hundred and thirty-five other ranks. 
In the 10th Battalion Captain T. Baker, Lieutenant E. Inman, 
2nd Lieutenants L. Cummins, J.H. Baines, R.G. Ingle and 
sixty-six other ranks were killed : Major W.A, Vignoles, 
Captains C.H. Bellamy, 2 and J.F. Worthington, Lieutenants 
R.C Green, R.P. Eason, 2 B.G. Anderson, 2 J.K. Murphy, 2nd 
Lieutenants H.W. Bannister, C.H. Jollin, J.H. Turnbull, and 
two hundred and fifty-nine other ranks were wounded ; 
one hundred and sixty-two men were missing — total, 
fifteen officers and four hundred and eighty-seven other 
ranks. The casualties of the 1 /4th and r /5th have already 
been given. 

Desultory fighting went on all along the front during the night 
of the 1 /2nd July. The situation at Fricourt was still tense. 
.-During the night the 51st Brigade of the 17th Division relieved 
the 50th Brigade opposite Fricourt. The 7th Lincolnshire 
(Lieut-Colonel J. Forrest) set out from Heilly at midnight 30th 
June/ ist July and arrived at Morlancourt, where, throughout 
the daylight hours, they were in reserve. At 8.55 p.m. they 
marched to Becourt Wood via Meaulte, thence to the British 

Died of wounds, 20/7/16. 
2 Died of wounds. 

173 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

front line opposite Fricourt, where they relieved the 6th Dorsets 
of the 50th Brigade. 

North of Fricourt, the 8th Lincolnshire, who during the night 
had worked hard in consolidating the positions from Dart Alley 
to Lozenge Wood and Lozenge Alley on their right flank, were 
protected from, counter-attack from Fricourt Wood by our 
barrage. The story of the next few days, so far as the 8 th 
Battalion was concerned, is thus told in the Commanding Officer's 
own words : " In the morning our patrols reconnoitred Lonely 
Trench to Red Cottage and Lozenge Alley to Fricourt Farm and 
found all clear " : the enemy had retired during the night. " We 
saw the attack advance through Fricourt Wood and occupy 
Fricourt Farm and Crucifix Trench. As our right flank was 
then secure, prepared Lozenge Alley for defence, facing north 
in case of emergency owing to the firing we heard between La 
Boisselle and Sausage Redoubt. This trench was made quite 
strong, being worked on until we got orders to move : mean- 
time we had to pass all our S.A.A. reserve, rifle grenades and 
Stokes mortar ammunition to the 62nd Brigade, and our hand 
grenades and a squad of bombers were sent up to the 62nd 
Brigade together with supplies from the rear. We then received 
orders to move to Patch Alley, facing north with our right on 
Sunken Road. Arriving there we continued work of preparing 
the trench for defence, until we were relieved about 2 a.m. on 
the 4th, when we marched to Dernancourt." 

From Dernancourt, the 8 th Lincolnshire moved north with 
other units of the 63rd Brigade, first to Vaux and then to Talmas, 
where on the 7th of July the brigade was transferred permanently 
to the 37th Division. 

When dawn broke on the 2nd July, the 1st Lincolnshire still 
held the position taken up on the 1st in Crucifix Trench and the 
Sunken Road. Throughout the day the battalion was heavily 
shelled, particularly by the enemy's heavy howitzers. An attack 
ordered during the evening was subsequently cancelled and the 
night of the 2nd /3rd July passed quietly. Fourteen other ranks 
were casualties during the day. 

Meanwhile the 7th Battalion had been engaged. Late on the 
1st July the 17 th Division was ordered to clear the enemy out of 
Fricourt the next morning. It was learnt from prisoners brought 
in about 8.50 a.m. on the 2nd that the enemy was evacuating 
Fricourt, and the 51st Brigade (Fell) was ordered to push forward, 
and occupy Fricourt, with Fricourt Farm and Wood as second 
objectives. The Lincolnshire on the right, and the South Staf- 
fords on the left led the advance of the brigade across the ground 
that had been the scene of such terrible slaughter the day before. 
The village was in a ruinous condition, but clearing its cellars 
174 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [jULy 2ND , x 9I g 

and deep dug-outs took some time. Soon after noon, the Lin- 
colnshire prepared to attack the Wood, whilst the South Staffords 
pushed out patrols towards the Farm. Orders now came to 
continue the advance to the railway, the left to get touch with 
the 2 1 st Division, the right with the 7th. 



^BaZUffs 

{^ Contalmals&h 

X 



Start 1 
Point 

of 
\7X» DIV. 
ATTACK] 




1 Mile 



Seal e 



The Lincolnshire, on the outskirts of the village, had already 
come under machine-gun fire from the Wood which was 
really the park to an old chateau, with copses and plantations in 
which German machine-guns were concealed. The battalion 
was therefore kept under cover in the village, whilst the Wood 
was reconnoitred by Major Metcalfe, who found the Wood 

175 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

evacuated, and between 2 and 3 p.m. the battalion advanced 
through it to the far end. 

At 5 p.m. the position of the 51st Brigade was roughly : 8th 
South Staffords in Lozenge Alley and Fricourt Farm ; 7th 
Lincolnshire on the northern and north-eastern side of Fricourt 
Wood ; Sherwoods in support and in Willow Trench. During 
the day Captain G.S. Dickinson was killed and nineteen other 
ranks wounded. 

The next morning at 9 a.m. the three Divisions, 17th, 21st 
and 34th again attacked the enemy. The weather continued 
fine, and July 3rd was a bright warm summer day. The Borders 
and Sherwoods of the 51st Brigade were sent against Railway 
Alley, and the Lincolnshire and South Staffords against Crucifix 
Trench, which lay west of and parallel to the road from Fricourt 
to Contalmaison. There was no barrage which was, possibly, 
an advantage, as the enemy was not expecting an assault, when 
the Lincolnshire sent their bombers into the north end of Crucifix 
Trench from Fricourt Farm. As soon as it was seen that they 
were in it and bombing down it, the rest of the battalion dashed 
at it across the open from the Wood, and the South Staffords 
advanced on their left. The rush was met by a hail of rifle and 
machine-gun fire, but in spite of casualties, the two battalions 
poured in over the trench. As the enemy was driven out a 
number of them were seen trying to escape along a communica- 
tion trench towards Shelter Wood. The Lincolnshire bombers 
cut in on their line of retreat, and drove them back into the 
victorious advance of the Staffords. Thus caught, some hun- 
dreds of a Prussian infantry regiment, including their Colonel, 
surrendered. Early in the afternoon Railway Copse was cap- 
tured by the Sherwoods, and parties of the South Staffords and 
Lincolnshire. All the objectives of the 1 7th Division were won, 
nearly a thousand prisoners and an immense quantity of stores 
and material, as well as eleven machine-guns, were taken. 1 

The 7th Battalion had, however, suffered heavy casualties : 
Captain L.D. Wickham, 2nd Lieutenants S. Shankster and L.C. 
Andrews and thirty other ranks were killed ; Lieutenants W.I. 
Abbot and J Kendall and 2nd Lieutenants T.C. Barrett, H. 
Emery, E.deG. Car and Thomas, and about one hundred and 
sixty other ranks were wounded or missing. About nine 
hundred prisoners were taken as well as two field-guns, two 
machine-guns and a quantity of stores. 

North of the 17th Division the 1st Battalion, of the 21st, 
had severe fighting. Lieut-Colonel Grant received orders at 
5.30 a.m. to attack Birch Tree and Shelter Woods at 9 a.m., 

1 The above account of the fighting on the 3rd July is from The History of the i>]th 
Division, by A.H. Atteridge. 

I76 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE pm* 3 rd, i 9 kj 

after a heavy artillery bombardment. The attack was made on a 
two-company frontage, each company on a two-platoon front. 
B Company attacked on the right and A on the left ; D and C 
supported B and A respectively. The objective was a trench 
running along the northern edge of the two woods as far as the 
light railway on the right. 

Two minutes before 9 a.m., the artillery bombardment became 
intense and the German trenches and the woods to be attacked 
were shrouded in smoke from bursting shells. Five Stokes 
mortars, firing from Crucifix Trench, opened rapid fire and 
added to the noise. 

At 9 o'clock punctually, the leading platoons of the ist 
Lincolnshire left the trench and rushed towards the enemy, but 




GERMAN PRISONERS, JULY, 1916 

on reaching the ridge in front of the woods came under heavy 
rifle and machine-gun fire. A Company suffered heavilyand 
their supports and C Company were rushed up. B, on the right, 
was more fortunate, and reached its objective without serious 
loss. Their supports and D then reinforced and, after disposing 
of all Germans found in the. trench, consolidated the position. 

The battalion, however, in addition to numerous casualties, 
suffered a heavy loss, for Lieut.-Colonel Grant, who had led 
A Company to the attack, was seriously wounded in the head just 
as C Company reinforced the line. Captain T.G. Newbury 
then took over temporary command. 

On the flanks of the Lincolnshire heavy bomb, fighting and 
machine-gunning still went on, particularly on the left, where 

n 177 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

one squad of battalion bombers, in spite of constant attacks by 
the enemy's bombers and machine-gun fire, succeeded in holding 
up a strong party of Germans who were a grave threat to that 
flank. But presently reinforcements from the 1 2th Northumber- 
land Fusiliers arrived and, after very little further resistance, this 
party of the enemy was captured. 

The centre of the attack experienced little opposition until the 
trench was reached, when large numbers of the enemy, who had 
taken refuge in dug-outs, were seen coming out in an endeavour 
to surround the Lincolnshire. They also were dealt with by the 
battalion bombers and many of them were killed. On the right, 
the resistance was not nearly as determined and a large number 
of prisoners were captured. 

By about 2 p.m., the woo'd was clear and the left flank secure, 
but the right flank was not secured until 4.33 p.m., when touch 
was obtained with the 10th Green Howards, who were digging 
themselves in to join up with the 1 7th Division on their right. 

The Birch Tree and Shelter Woods were now in the hands of 
the Lincolnshire. After consolidation the battalion was relieved 
by the 12th Northumberland Fusiliers and withdrew to the 
Sunken Road, where they formed a local reserve. 

The casualties sustained during the day's fighting were three 
officers (Lieutenant R.F.R. Herapath, 2nd Lieutenants F. 
Hilton and F.C. Hills), and thirty-four other ranks killed : six 
officers (Lieut.-Colonel D.H.F. Grant, Lieutenants G.McI.S. 
Bruce, G.H. Hanning, 2nd Lieutenants J.H.P. Barrett, G.M. 
Minnifie and W. Godfrey-Payton), and one hundred and ninety- 
one other ranks wounded, and nine other ranks missing. 

Altogether the 62nd Brigade, captured one thousand two hun- 
dred prisoners : of these, seven hundred were taken by the 1st 
Lincolnshire, who were heartily congratulated both by the 
Divisional and Brigade Commanders. 

On the 4th the battalion withdrew to Dernancourt and there 
entrained for Ailly-sur-Somme, where on detraining the Lin- 
colnshire marched to Argoeuvres. 

The 7th Lincolnshire made no attack on the 4th of July, and 
on the night of the 4th /5th were relieved with two other battalions 
of the 51st Brigade, reaching Meaulte at 6 a.m. on the 5th, after 
a very exhausting march. The total casualties suffered by the 
7th Battalion from the 1st to the 4th of July were four officers 
and thirty-five other ranks killed, and four officers and one 
hundred and fifty-three other ranks wounded : eighteen other 
ranks were missing. 

No battalion of the regiment took part in the fighting on the 
5th of July, when La Boisselle was surrounded and the outskirts 
of Contalmaison reached. The general situation then, after five 
178 



GENERAL SITUATION &ULY 5TH , t 9 rf 

days fighting was : "ona front of over six miles, from Bricque- 
terie 1 to La Boisselle, our troops had swept over the whole of the 
enemy's first and strongest system of defence, which he had done 
his utmost to render impregnable. They had driven him back 
over a distance greater than a mile and had carried four elaborately 
fortified villages." (Despatch of the iydDecember> 1 9 1 6>para. 9.) 
For the next five days, in spite of bad weather, local operations 
were continued. 

The 7 th Lincolnshire, with the remainder of the 51st Brigade, 
were brought back by midnight the 6th /7th July in preparation 
for the attack to be directed against the Contalmaison position 
on the 7th, by the 38th Division on the right, the 17th in the 
centre, and the 23rd on the left.. The 51st Brigade was in 
Divisional Reserve until the afternoon, when it relieved the 52 nd 
on the left of the 17th Division, facing Quadrangle Support. 
This trench lay at the top of an open glacis, nearly a quarter of a 
mile wide, exposed to a cross-fire from the front, and from 
Mametz Wood on the right. Bombers were collected to attempt 
to enter it via Quadrangle Alley on the right, and Pearl Alley 
on the left. The 50th Brigade was detailed to the right, and 
the 51st to the left. Tenacious mud added to the difficulties of 
the attack, and little progress was made. In Pearl Alley bombers 
reached the junction of the Alley with Quadrangle Support, but 
could not force their way into it. 

Throughout the 8th the Lincolnshire remained in the reserve 
line, but at night relieved the Border Regiment in Quadrangle 
Trench. During the day 2nd Lieutenant A.W.S. Cbwie was 
killed. The next afternoon, at 5.50 p.m., the battalion bombers, 
assisted by B Company set out to clear Pearl Alley, For three 
hours a bombing fight went on, but at last Lieutenant Jones, 
who commanded the Lincolnshire bombers, sent word that the 
niud was so thick that it was impossible to throw bombs effec- 
tively. He himself tried to walk outside the trench hurling 
bombs into it. The battalion spent an uncomfortable night in 
Quadrangle Trench, sniped badly by the enemy's riflemen and 
shelled heavily by the German artillery. Two more officers 
(Lieutenant A.H. Bird and 2nd Lieutenant J.A. Levette) were 
wounded on the 9th. 

Verbal orders were given 2 to the 50th and 51st Brigades to 
make a surprise attack on Quadrangle Support at 11.20 p.m. 
on the 9th. This was the beginning of nearly twenty-four hours 
continuous fighting, which ended in success, though dearly 
bought. The Lincolnshire pushed up the prolongation of Pearl 
Alley, covering the attack whilst the South Staffords pushed into 

1 The Briqueterie was about one thousand yards south-east of Montauban. 

2 The History of the i>jth Division. Atteridge. 

179 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

"the west end of Quadrangle Support. About 3 a.m. on the 1 oth, 
things went badly with the 51st Brigade, and the attack was 
broken off. Orders were issued to hold on to the junction of 
Pearl Alley and Quadrangle Support at all costs. The Lincoln- 
shire had the battalion bombers there, and two platoons of B 
Company, the rest of the battalion holding Quadrangle Trench. 

The 23rd Division attacked Contalmaison in the afternoon, 
capturing the village after stubborn resistance. Fighting went 
on until long after sunset. The Lincolnshire made two attempts 
to capture Quadrangle Support, and that night four officers and 
about sixty other ranks took it and held it. 

But that night they were subjected to a terrific shell-fire : com- 
munications were cut for about four hours, the enemy's barrage 
falling on all rear trenches and support positions. One officer — 
2nd Lieutenant B.L. Kimber — was killed. At last in the early 
hours of the nth, the 17th Division was relieved by the 21st, 
and the battalion moved to Meaulte, and on the 12th to Foud- 
rinoy. 

The total casualties of the 7th Lincolnshire in the Battle of 
Albert 1 9 1 6 were seven officers and forty-nine other ranks killed, 
seven officers and two hundred and forty-six other ranks wounded, 
twenty-eight other ranks missing. 

The 1st Lincolnshire returned to the line under the command of 
Lieut.-Colonel R.H.G. Wilson, reaching Ailly-sur-Somme on 
the 10th and resting during the remainder of the day along the 
canal bank. Here one hundred and fifty-nine reinforcements 
joined. In the evening the battalion entrained at Ailly station 
and reached Corbie at about n p.m. On detraining, a move 
was made to the high ground between Corbie and Mericourt. 
It was still dark when at 1.40 a.m. (1 ith) Battalion Headquarters, 
C and D Companies, and the Bermuda Contingent moved by 
motor lorry, and A and B Companies by march route, to Meaulte. 

The 62nd Brigade was ordered to clear the remainder of 
Mametz. Wood, the 1st Lincolnshire to be in support and pro- 
vide carrying parties. The southern portion of the Wood was 
already in the hands of the 115th Brigade, which the 62nd 
Brigade was to relieve. 

Mametz Wood lay north-east of the Quadrangle and covered 
most of the spur east of that place : one arm of the Wood ended 
in the valley of the watercourse. Along the western side of this 
arm ran Strip Trench, used as a communication trench to get 
to the new positions in the Wood. It was, however, so blocked 
with German dead that troops preferred to march along the top, 
the stench from the bodies being unbearable. Abutting into 
the south-western portion of the Wood there was rectangular 
clearing, three hundred to four hundred yards wide, and across 
180 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE r Jt , Ly „ TH , x 9 x* 

it ran Wood Trench, connecting at right angles with Strip Trench 
on the right, and with its left resting among some trees in the 
valley dividing the Quadrangle and Mametz Wood Spurs. This 
trench was the only immediate support trench then in existence 
for the front line, which was three hundred yards further north. 
At about 9.30 p.m. the Lincolnshire marched out of Meaulte, 
by platoons, along the Meaulte-Fricourt road towards Mametz 
Wood. Guides met the battalion at Rose Cottage and, after 
being held up by traffic, the leading platoon reached the southern 
end of Strip Trench, the southern extremity of Mametz Wood. 
Some idea of the slow progress made on the march may be 
gathered from the fact that it was 3 a.m. on the 12 th before Strip 
Trench was reached. A and B Companies were allotted a 
position in the centre of the Wood, where they at once dug 
themselves in, the other two companies and the Bermuda Con- 
tingent were put into Wood Trench. 

Throughout the night of the r 2th /13th the enemy's artillery 
swept the whole Wood and the Lincolnshire had a bad time. 
They received orders to " dig as many trenches as possible, for 
the 1 10th Brigade, who come in to-night and attack to-morrow." 
The Officer Commanding A Company, however, sent the follow- 
ing message to the Commanding Officer. " Just at present we 
are being very heavily shelled and shells 'are dropping all round 
us. We have had to evacuate some portion of our trench as it 
has been blown in. As soon as things get a little quieter I will 
try and dig some trenches, but the men are played put and have 
worked continuously until an hour ago digging their trenches." 
Later he reported : "Renew trenches : northern trench has 
been done. We have joined up most of the small trenches and 
have made a few shell-holes into small cover. We have been 
heavily shelled all the afternoon and are still getting it." The 
Officer Commanding C Company also reported : " All my men 
have dug themselves well in, but progress seriously impeded by 
numerous casualties. During the continuous bombardment my 
men are taking the best cover they can." 

All through the night that terrible bombardment swept 
Mametz Wood and the poor fellows in it were very much shaken. 
" I personally," reported the commander of D Company, " and 
most of the men are considerably shaken and bruised." , Later, 
however, A and B Companies were moved to Wood Trench, 
not a moment too soon ! 

The battalion by the night of the 1 3 th had lost, since moving 
into the' Wood, ten other ranks killed, one hundred and seven 
wounded and fourteen missing. 

During the night of the I3th/i4th the 110th Brigade arrived 
in the Wood. This Brigade came from the 37th Division to 

181 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

replace the 63rd Brigade (21st Division), which had been per- 
manently transferred to the former Division. 

The 2nd, 8th and 10th Lincolnshire were not engaged again 
in this battle. The 8 th Battalion, however, is mentioned in the 
Diary of the 5th Lincolnshire (T.F.) as having relieved the two 
right companies of the latter on the night of the loth/nth 
July in the Gommecourt trenches. On the 1 3th both the 4th 
and 5th Battalions were out of the line, the former at Lacauche 
and the latter in huts north of Bavincourt. 



II 

THE BATTLE OF BAZENTIN : I4TH-I7TH JULY, I916 

Mametz Wood having been entirely cleared of the enemy (by 
the 2 1 st Division), and with Trones Wood also practically in 
our possession, we were in a position at daybreak on the 14th 
July to undertake an assault upon the enemy's second system of 
defences, extending from Longueval to Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, 
both inclusive. Contalmaison had been captured to secure the 
left flank of the attack, and the progress made by our infantry 
permitted our artillery to move forward to new positions. 
{Despatch of the 13rd December, 19 16, para, 12.) 

Seven divisions, one of them the 21st, were to attack the 
enemy. The 21st received orders to capture the German front 
line and support trenches protecting Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, 
next capture the wood itself and Bazentin-le-Petit village, finally 
establishing a line running from the northern side of the village 
and then the road to Contalmaison Villa, along the northern edge 
of the wood to the south-west corner. The 1 1 oth Brigade, with 
one battalion of the 64th Brigade, was to carry out the attack by 
the 2 1 st Division. The 1st Lincolnshire were to provide carry- 
ing parties for the 1 10th Brigade and the 62nd Trench-Mortar 
Battery : the latter task being allotted to the Bermuda Con- 
tingent attached to the battalion. 

The assault was delivered at 3.35 a.m. on the 14th of July, 
when there was just sufficient light in which to distinguish friend 
from foe at short range. Preceded by a splendidly effective 
artillery barrage the attacking troops swept over the enemy's 
front-line defences and into his second line. Bazentin-le-Petit 
Wood was cleared by the 2 1 st Division in spite of the considerable 
resistance of the enemy along its western edge, where we success- 
fully repulsed a counter-attack. {Despatch of the iyd December \ 
19 1 6, para. 13.) 
182 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [july-seft, 1916 

The i st Lincolnshire worked very hard all day carrying up 
loads of bombs, S.A.A., tools, rations and water to the scene of 
action and returning with the wounded and prisoners. Each 
party made numerous journeys. The battalion afterwards re- 
ceived the following message, sent to the General Officer Com- 
manding, 62nd Brigade, from the General Officer Commanding, 
110th Brigade : " Will you please thank in the name of the 
110th Brigade the Officer Commanding (Lt.-Colonel R.H.G. 
Wilson) 1st Lincolns, for his great help in bringing up S.A.A. 
for the use of the Brigade." 

On the 15th, when the successes gained on the previous day 
were further exploited, the Lincolnshire bombers were sent to 
assist the noth Brigade and did great service, bombing the 
enemy put of trenches and dug-outs : they were largely instru- 
mental in clearing the way for an advance upon High Wood, 
a portion o£ which was captured during the day. 

As on the 14th, the battalion again furnished carrying parties 
and came in for a good deal of shell-fire. The enemy used 
gas shells on this day of a new kind, which had an insidious action, 
for the full effect of the fumes was not felt until some hours later. 
We all found it very difficult to breathe, but we stuck it and the 
effects passed off after a bit, although some of the men were 
pretty bad. " I think it wonderful the way the men carry on." 
(An officer of the battalion.) All ranks suffered very much 
from the want of sleep, as well as from the effects of the gas. 

On the 1 6th the battalion was again in Brigade Reserve, 
supplying carrying parties for the 110th Brigade, but shortly 
after midnight on the 1 7th relief came and the worn-out Lincoln- 
shire marched back to Buire. The total casualties suffered 
between the 14th /17th of July were four other ranks killed, 
twenty-three wounded and three missing. 

The general results of the battle were of the highest impor- 
tance. The enemy's second main system of defence had been 
captured on a front of over three miles, and he had again been 
forced back more than a mile : but still his defence was stout 
and he had inflicted heavy losses. 



Ill 

THE BATTLE OF DELVILLE WOOD : 1 5TH JULY-3RD SEPTEMBER 

Delville Wood (or the " Devil's Wood," to give it its popular 
name) was first captured on the 15th of July, the greater part of 
it with the northern portions of Longueval village was recaptured 

183 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

by the enemy on the 18th. On the 27th of July it was again 
completely in our hands, but the enemy soon penetrated the 
wood and held portions of it, until he was finally ejected at the 
end of August, and by the 3rd September, by which Guillemont 
had fallen, our hold was secure. 

Delville Wood was surrounded by enemy posts and in addition 
was overlooked from Flers Ridge, three hundred yards distant : 
no movement could take place in the wood by day unobserved by 
the enemy, and by night the position was exposed to almost con- 
tinuous artillery and machine-gun fire. Lines of trench had 
long been obliterated, and the edge of the wood was held by an 
unconnected chain of posts. 

In the long-drawn-out struggle for possession of the wood, the 

7th Lincolnshire, of the 51st Brigade, 17th Division, were 

engaged. From Fourdrinoy the battalion marched on the 14th 

to Yaucourt, near Abbeville, where a week was spent in training 

and absorbing reinforcements. On the 23rd of July, however, 

a move was made back to the Somme, the battalion reaching 

Hangest at 1 1 p.m., and at 4.30 the next morning marched into 

Mericourt and bivouacked. Here another week was spent 

during which reinforcements of officers and men continued to 

arrive, until by the 29th the battalion had a fighting strength of 

thirty-two officers and nine hundred and fourteen other ranks. 

On the 30th Lieut.-Colonel J. Forrest proceeded to England 

and Major F.E. Metcalfe assumed command of the battalion. 

On the 1st of August the 51st Brigade relieved the 95th 

Brigade in Pommiers Redoubt, the 7th Lincolnshire taking over 

Pommiers Trench. These were reserve positions, but were 

under fire from the enemy's medium and heavy artillery. 

At 4.30 a.m. on the 3rd, C Company, under Lieutenant 
Kendall, went to Longueval on digging fatigue. This was the 
beginning of several days of a perfectly horrible existence. The 
Lincolnshire were subjected all the while to heavy shell-fire, 
machine-gun and rifle-fire and suffered severe casualties. The 
bombardment was so heavy that an enemy attack was expected. 
The battalion at 8 p.m. on the 4th left Pommiers Trench and 
relieved the 23rd Royal Fusiliers (2nd Division) in Montauban 
Alley, where they were in Brigade Reserve. "Violent shell-fire 
swept the trenches and Montauban on the night of the 5th /6th, 
and 2nd Lieutenant R.A. Eadie and four other ranks were killed, 
and thirteen other ranks wounded. At 4.30 p.m. on the 7th, 
the battalion moved up to support the Sherwood Foresters, who 
were in Longueval and Delville Wood. Four hours later D 
Company, under Captain S. Clarke, moved up in close support 
of the Foresters in Longueval. At dawn D Company in Longue- 
val village was subjected to a violent bombardment, which lasted 
184 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [ JUL y a3RD , i 9 i6 

an 'hour ; by the end of it D Company had ninety casualties, 
about half the strength of the Company. The Germans used 
phosphorous shells which caused fire amongst the debris and 
some men were set alight. The expected attack did not take 
place. On the 8th at 8.30 p.m. the battalion relieved the 
Foresters : the relief took until 7.30 a.m. on the 9th as it was 
most difficult getting the troops into position. 

On the 9th at dusk a determined effort was made to dig a 
connected trench line, and the battalion succeeded in advancing 
the line of posts some fifty yards out of the wood. The Lincoln- 
shire were exposed to shell and machine-gun fire during the whole 
time they were in the wood, but during the two days they were in 
occupation of it the wood was cleared of the enemy. Four 
officers were wounded during the 9th of August, i.e., Lieutenant 
C.R. Barnes and 2nd Lieutenants H. Ribton-Cook, G.E.S. 
Kollick and E.W. Milford. At 1 a.m. on the ioth the North- 
umberland Fusiliers arrived to relieve the Lincolnshire and the 
latter marched back to bivouacs near Fricourt. 

Between the 1st and ioth of August the battalion lost one 
officer and twenty-two other ranks killed, six officers (including 
2nd Lieutenants J.E. Burrows and J.W.W. Edgar and officers 
whose names have already been given) and one hundred and 
forty-five other ranks wounded, and fourteen other ranks missing. 

A week out of the line, mostly spent in marching to fresh billets, 
brought the 7th Lincolnshire to a new sector which the 17th 
Division had taken over opposite Gommecourt, the battalion 
relieving a battalion of the 169th Brigade (56th Division) in the 
line at Fonquevillers, on the 19th of August, where for the 
moment they must be left. 



IV 

THE BATTLE OF POZIERES RIDGE : 2 3RD JULY-3RD SEPTEMBER 

In this battle, launched by the Fourth Army on the 23rd of 
July on a wide front from Guillemont to near Pozieres, the ioth 
Lincolnshire came into the line towards the end of July, by that 
time Pozieres itself had been captured by the Australians, while 
the 34th Division was out of the line resting. 

The ioth Lincolnshire, with other units of the 101st Brigade 
(34th Division), arrived in the Hennencourt area, where refitting 
and absorbing drafts occupied the battalion from the 7th to the 
30th July. " During this period the battalion received drafts of 
men from various units, Northamptonshire Regiment, North 

185 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Staffordshire Regiment, South Staffordshire Regiment, Middle- 
sex Regiment, and a few Lincolns. A large proportion of these 
men were third-line Territorials and had, in many cases, only 
received about three months training. Training was carried out 
on the manoeuvre area near Bresle and the battalion was also 
exercised in wood fighting. Specialist training was carried on 
during the whole of this period." 

The struggle for the Pozieres Ridge resembled in a way the 
fierce fighting for Delville Wood, in that the operations were 
spread over several weeks, the enemy launching frequent counter- 
attacks and the line swinging to and fro until finally we con- 
solidated our gains. 

Fighting was still in progress when the 34th Division took 
over the line on the 31st of July, the 101st Brigade, the sector 
east of Bazentin Wood to High Wood exclusive, with the 1 1 ith 
Brigade in support in Mametz Wood and the 1 12th in reserve 
in Becourt Wood. 

The 10th Lincolnshire took over a line of trenches north-east 
of Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, moving up on the 4th August at 
5.30 p.m. to relieve the nth Suffolks in front-line and support 
trenches north-east of Bazentin-le-Petit village. Details of the 
battalion took part in a bombing attack on the German inter- 
mediary trench, but having to advance through an exceptionally 
heavy hostile barrage the attack was not a success. Two days 
later the 101st Brigade was relieved by the 1 12th Brigade and 
marched back to trenches west of Mametz Wood. 

These six days in the line (ist/6th August) were very costly 
to the 10th Battalion, which had over two hundred casualties, 
including three officers (Lieutenant A,W.S. Pratte and 2nd 
Lieutenants F.M. Wensley and H.P. Murphy) killed. 

Conditions in the line were terrible : there were dead bodies 
everywhere, and the smell was awful. The enemy's shell-fire 
was particularly heavy and accurate, for he had by now brought 
up guns and reinforcements and was obstinately contesting our 
advance. Colonel Cordeaux (commanding 10th Lincolnshire) 
had his Battalion Headquarters near the 101st Brigade Head- 
quarters, in an old German dressing station on the north-western 
side of Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, which was not a salubrious 
place. 

The 10th Lincolnshire moved back to trenches and bivouacs 
in Becourt Wood on the 10th, forward again on the 13th to 
Mametz Wood, and into the front line on the 14th, at Bazentin- 
le-Petit. But on the 13th of August the 34th Division was 
relieved by another Division and, moving by stages, reached 
Armentieres once more, where, on the 29th, the Lincolnshire 
went into the front line at Bois Grenier. 
186 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [SEP t. i 5 th s I9i6 
V 

THE BATTLE OF FLERS-COURCELETTE : I5TH— 22ND SEPTEMBER 

After the Battle of Pozieres Ridge practically the whole of the 
forward crest of the main ridge, from Delville Wood to the road 
above Mouquet Farm, on a front of some nine thousand yards, 
was in our hands, and with it the observation over the slopes 
beyond. (Despatch of the lyd December, 19 16, para. 25.) The 
attack on the 15th September gained the high ground on 
which are situated the villages of Flers, and Courcelette, nearly 
six thousand yards apart, from which this battle takes its name. 
Two innovations were introduced in this battle. For the first 
time in the war, tanks were used, and the rolling, or creeping, 
barrage introduced. 

The nth and 21st Divisions, in which the 6th and ist Lin- 
colnshire respectively were serving, were not amongst those 
Divisions which carried out the main attack. 

From the 18th of July to the 3rd of August the ist Lincoln- 
shire were training, but on the latter date took over front-line 
trenches north of the Scarpe River, at St. Laurent Blangy, the 
2 1 st Division having moved to the Arras front. But with the 
exception of artillery duels and the occasional activity of the 
enemy's machine-guns and snipers there is little to record until 
the battalion again turned its face to the Somme. 

The 2 ist Division was withdrawn from the Arras front during 
the second week in September, and on the 13th, the ist Lincoln- 
shire, being then at Grand-Rullecourt, started to march west. 
That night they reached Rebreuve, and on the following morning 
Frevent, where the battalion entrained for Albert. On detrain- 
ing, the march was resumed to Dernancourt, where, at the foot 
of a hill, the Lincolnshire bivouacked for the night. They 
marched to Becordel on the 15th and bivouacked again. 

Early on the 1 6th of September the Lincolnshire marched to 
Pomrniers Redoubt, on the road between Mametz and Mon- 
tauban. Here the battalion remained until night. The tide 
of battle had by this time rolled far ahead, and the redoubt 
was no longer exposed to the awful shell-fire from which 
another battalion of the regiment suffered on a previous occasion. 
That night the 62nd Brigade relieved the 42nd Brigade in 
the trenches south of Gueudecourt, between Flers and Les 
Boeufs. The Lincolnshire were in Brigade Reserve in a valley 
bordering the northern edge of Bernafay Wood, about three 
miles from the front line. 

The northern half of the Ginchy-Gueudecourt road (officially 
known as Watling Street) and especially the sunken portion of 

187 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the road which ran parallel with, and some thousand yards east 
of the village, of Flers, was the scene of operations during the 
next fortnight. 

At 1. 1 5 a.m. on the 17th, A and B Companies of the Lincoln- 
shire with Lewis guns, were sent to Gap Trench to support the 
64th Brigade, which held a trench astride Watling Street, one. 
thousand yards south of Gueudecourt, and was apparently being 
counter-attacked. That part of Gap Trench occupied by these 
two companies of the Lincolnshire was west of Watling Street, 
and one thousand yards in rear of the firing line. 

At 10. 1 5 a.m. on the 1 7th, A and B Companies received orders 
to move from Gap Trench and relieve the Coldstream Guards in 
the firing line about one thousand three hundred yards south-east 
of Flers in another portion of Gap Trench to the east of Watling 
Street. The relief was carried out in heavy rain and the diffi- 
culties were increased by the complicated position. The firing 
line taken over by the Lincolnshire faced north. Across the 
front of the two companies ran an old German communication 
trench — Gas Alley — to the main German line (Gird Trench). 
The south-western half of Gas Alley was held by the 13 th 
Northumberland Fusiliers, and the north-eastern half by the 
enemy, with only a barricade between the opposing forces. Thus 
the Lincolnshire faced friend and foe. A little further to the 
right, Gap Trench swept round to the north-east and ran into 
Gird Trench parallel with Gas Alley : the right portion of Gap 
Trench was also held by the enemy. The trenches taken over 
from the Guards by A and B Companies had only recently been 
captured and required consolidating. This the Lincolnshire 
set to work to do. 

At 7.30 p.m. Battalion Headquarters, with C and D Com- 
panies, were ordered to proceed to the Brigade front line to dig 
a trench behind and parallel with it ; the centre of this new 
trench to be in Watling Street, about eight hundred yards in 
front of B Company's left flank. D Company moved off at 8 
p.m. in the rain, drenched through, nearly lost their way. Even- 
tually they arrived in position, very much fatigued. C Com- 
pany followed at midnight. Both companies worked in four- 
hour shifts, all through the night in heavy rain, and having com- 
pleted their task, handed the trench over to companies of the 
13th Northumberland Fusiliers and 10th Green Howards, 
returning to Brigade Headquarters the following morning. 

During the early hours of the 18 th the Commanding Officer 
and Second-in-Command (Lieut.-Colonel R.H.G. Wilson and 
Major Elkington) were going round the battalion area, visiting 
each company, when, with another officer (2nd Lieutenant G. 
Matson) they were caught in a sudden salvo of high explosive 
188 



LINCOLNSHIRE BOMBERS [SE p T . 2 oth, 1916 

and had to be evacuated to hospital. Major H.M.C. Orr then 
assumed command of the battalion. 

The position of A and B Companies in the firing line was not 
enviable. Their greatcoats were stacked in the Quartermaster's 
stores at Meaulte, and they had only their waterproof sheets to 
protect them from the heavy rain which fell all day. Drenched 
to the skin, always on the alert, and subjected to continuous heavy 
shell-fire, they were in a pitiable plight. The 19th showed no 
improvement either in the weather or the enemy's activities, but 
fortunately the two companies were relieved during the night 
i9th/2o, and, utterly worn out, they returned to Battalion Head- 
quarters, marching in at 3 a.m. on the 20th, 

At 8 a.m. on the 20th, the Lincolnshire sent the battalion 
bombers and company bombers of C and D Companies (six 
squads in all) to clear Gas Alley to a point within fifty yards of 
Gird Trench. The party, under Lieutenant D.F. Neilson 
(Brigade Bombing Officer), left Brigade Headquarters at 10 a.m. 
andreached Battalion Headquarters of the 13th Northumberland 
Fusiliers at 1 p.m., having suffered twelve casualties from shell- 
fire on the way. Three squads then occupied the front line and 
the support line. At 3 p.m. the guns of the XV. Corps and 
7th Division shelled the enemy's trenches, but failed to hit Gas 
Alley, though shells fell in the trenches held by the bombers, 
causing several casualties among them. At 4 p.m. the attack 
took place. The three squads in the front line were met by 
furious rifle and machine-gun fire and could not get on as they 
had to cross open ground to get to Gas Alley. The three squads 
m the support line, which was connected with Gas Alley, rushed 
the enemy's barricade and drove the Germans back up the Alley 
for about one hundred yards. They then built a new barricade 
and consolidated the captured trench, handing it over after dark 
to the Fusiliers. 

In thanking the 1st Lincolnshire for the smart work carried 
out by their bombers, the Brigadier said that the reason he 
selected the Lincolnshire to do the job was because he wanted 
the best bombers in the Brigade to carry it out, and he knew the 
Lincolnshire had them. On the 21st the battalion remained in 
the Brigade Reserve Trench, furnishing working parties. On 
the 22nd the Brigade was relieved and the Lincolnshire, with 
expectations of a rest, moved back to the Brigade Camp, situated 
a mile south-west of Fricourt. 

Their losses between the 15th and 22nd of September were 
one officer and seven other ranks killed, three officers and thirty- 
three other ranks wounded. ' 

Meanwhile the 1 ith Division had also been engaged with the 
enemy near Ovillers. The 1 ith Division set sail from Egypt 

189 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

just as the Somme battles were beginning, the 6th Lincolnshire 
of the 33rd Brigade embarking at Alexandria on the 2nd July. 
On the 8th the vessel reached Marseilles and three days later 
the 6th Battalion entrained at Marseilles for the Abbeville area, 
arriving at St. Pol on the 13 th. From St. Pol a move was made 
to Ternas on the 14th, and on the 15th Hauteville, where 
company commanders and two sergeants per company were sent 
up to the trenches immediately south-east of Arras. On the 
2 1 st the first casualty in France was suffered — a private of D 
Company being wounded. 

On the 22nd (the battalion having in the meantime moved to 
Berneville), the 6th Lincolnshire, proceeding through Arras to 
Ronville, took over front-line trenches astride the Arras-Beaurain- 
Bapaume road opposite Beaurain, On the 25th a man was 
killed, the first death in France. 

Three small parties of Germans attacked the battalion's 
trenches on the night 31st July/ist August, but were beaten 
off, casualties being inflicted on them. One officer of the 
Lincolnshire (2nd Lieutenant Watkinson) was wounded — 
the first officer casualty in France and Flanders — but was carried 
in from No Man's Land by Private Cornell. 

On the night of the 9th/ioth August, in order to obtain 
identifications, 2nd Lieutenant Clay led a raiding party across 
No Man's Land and inflicted four casualties on a German work- 
ing party out in front of their trenches. The raiders brought in 
two dead Germans and the tunic and cap of a third, identifica- 
tions which were badly needed. 

Lieut.-Colonel W.E.W. Elkington left the battalion on the 
13th of August to rejoin his old battalion (the 1st Lincolnshire) 
and Major G.H. Gater assumed command on the 1 5th. 

After a month in the line the battalion moved back to Berne- 
ville on the 2i st, thence to Hauteville on the 24th. A short 
period of training followed, and on the 7th of September the 
Lincolnshire reached Bouzincourt, where three days were 
spent ; where also 2nd Lieutenant A. Smith and an n.c.o. 
were wounded on fatigue and one other rank was killed and 
nine wounded in billets. On the 12th the battalion moved to 
the trenches near Ovillers, one and a half miles south-east of 
Thiepval. 

An important position was won by a highly successful enter- 
prise carried out by the 1 ith Division on the evening of the 14th 
September, by which the Wonderwork was stormed. (Despatch 
of the 2yd December, 19 16, para. 25.) On the night of the 
1 5th/ 1 6th C Company of the 6th Lincolnshire captured Con- 
stance_ Trench, which was of fundamental importance to the 
operations on the 26th September, as it formed the "jumping 
190 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [SEP t. i7 ™, i 9 ,6 

off ground " for the Sherwood Foresters and Borderers in the 
attack on Thiepval Ridge. 

Just before dusk on the 1 6th, the Canadians (on the right of 
the Lincolnshire) attacked and captured Courcelette, and whilst 
pushing out a sap to keep touch with the left flank of the attackers 
in front of Mouquet Farm, 2nd Lieutenant Clay was wounded. 
After darkness had fallen on the 1 6th, the battalion was ordered 
to clear the remainder of Constance Trench. 

Under 2nd Lieutenant Donald, a bombing party successfully 
carried out this operation, and the battalion then occupied the 
whole of the trench. The following morning at io a.m., 
another bombing party attacked Joseph Trench, but the enemy 
was in force and the bombers were driven back. That evening 
the Germans launched a counter-attack against Constance 
Trench, but were driven off. 

The casualties suffered on the 17th of September were two 
officers (Captain H.B. Thompson and 2nd Lieutenant N.H. 
Stockdale) and eleven other ranks killed, two officers (Captain 
Akenhead and Captain Malkinson) and thirty-three other ranks 
wounded. Captain Thompson lost his life while searching for 
a patrol which had gone out but failed to return. 2nd 
Lieutenant Sutherland gallantly went out in search of Captain 
Thompson and found his body about fifty yards from the trench. 
With great difficulty, Lieutenant Sutherland returned and later 
he went out again and brought in the body of the dead officer. 
For this action he was later awarded the M.C. 

On the 1 9th /20th the 6th Lincolnshire were relieved by the 
Sherwood Foresters and moved back to Donnet's Post, near 
Aveluy. Here they remained for a week in dug-outs. 



VI 

THE BATTLE OF MORVAL : 25TH-28TH SEPTEMBER J THE CAPTURE 

OF GUEUDECOURT 

Bad weather set in during the close of the battle of Flers- 
Courcelette, and it was the 25th of September before the next 
attack could be undertaken. On that date a general attack was 
launched on the whole front from the Somme to Martinpuich. 
On the British front the objectives were Morval (5th Division), 
Les Boeufs (6th and Guards Division), Gueudecourt (21st 
Division) and a belt of country about one thousand yards in depth, 
curving round the north of Flers to a point about mid-way 

191 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

between that village and Martinpuich : the latter was the 
objective of the 55th, New Zealand and 1st Divisions. 

The 62nd Brigade of the 21st Division was in Divisional 
Reserve during the operations, but the 1st Lincolnshire were 
attached to the 64th Brigade, the attacking brigade. Major 
H.M.C. Orr, temporarily commanding the 1st Lincolnshire, 
received orders for the attack on the 20th of September, whilst 
the battalion was resting at Fricourt Camp. 

Three objectives were allotted to the 64th Brigade (i) portions 
of Gird Trench and Gird Support south of Gueudecourt, (ii) a 
track running south-east of the village, and (iii) a portion of the 
line of the Gueudecourt-Le Transloy road east of the former 
village. The 10th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 
the right and the 1st East Yorkshire, on the left, were to carry 
out the attack of the 64th Brigade on the first objectives. The 
1 st Lincolnshire were to capture the second objective, and the 
two first-named battalions were to pass through the Lincolnshire 
and capture the third objective. 

The battalion moved from Fricourt Camp at 1 1 a.m. on the 
24th to Pommiers Redoubt, arriving at 1 p.m. A hot meal was 
served and at 5 p.m. the battalion moved again, and an hour later 
arrived at Switch Trench, where 64th Brigade Headquarters 
were established. Here, after rest, hot tea and rum were served 
just before 10 p.m., when the march to the assembly trenches 
began. 

By 11.30 p.m. the battalion was disposed in the following 
positions : A and C Companies in Gap Trench (support) ; B 
and D Companies, the Battalion Bombers and Battalion Head- 
quarters in Switch Trench (second support). 

Throughout the night the artillery bombardment, which began 
on the morning of the 24th, continued without abatement. As 
Gird Support Trench (part of the first objective) had been almost 
entirely demolished by our shell-fire, the first two waves of the 
attacking infantry received orders to dig in one hundred and 
fifty yards beyond it. 

Zero hour for the attack was fixed for 12.35 P- m - on t ^ ie 2 ^' 
Two minutes before zero bayonets were fixed and the battalion 
" stood to " ready to go over the parapet. Each man carried an 
extra bandolier and a Mills bomb in addition to the complement 
of bombs carried by the Battalion and Company Bombers. 

As the hands of the watches touched zero Captain J. Edes 
and Captain J.E.N.P. Denning, commanding A and C Com- 
panies respectively, followed by their men, sprang over the 
parapet of Gap Trench and advanced in quick time in two lines 
with a frontage of two platoons each company, fifty yards between 
the two lines. A Company was on the right, C on the left. 
192 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. 25TH , 19 i6 

Both companies had advanced about fifty yards when they 
came into the enemy's artillery barrage from the right and 
machine-gun fire from the right front. In spite of heavy 
casualties, there was no wavering until the brigade front line was 
reached. Instead, however, of finding the trench empty and the 
attacking troops of the 64th Brigade on their way to the first 
objective, the two units still occupied the trench. Apparently 
they had attacked the enemy but had fallen back to their 
original position. 

By this time Captain Denning and all the senior n.c.o.s of 
C Company had been wounded, and it was found necessary to 
re-organize in the front line. Captain Edes, however, at once 
decided to pass over the front line with A Company and advance 
towards the first objective. An officer of the 4th Grenadier 
Guards, on the right of the Lincolnshire, asked Captain Edes to 
help him in an attack on a strong point (No. 91) in the German 
front line. A Company was therefore directed up Gas Alley, 
which led to the strong point. But by now the casualties were 
heavy and the company was unable to reach it. It was, there- 
fore, decided to consolidate on the ground gained. While this 
was being done touch was obtained on the left with a party of the 
9th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which had succeeded 
in occupying a line of shell-holes, which they had connected. To 
this the Lincolnshire joined up their line and the whole was 
consolidated. 

Meanwhile, B and D Companies, supported by the Battalion 
Bombers and Battalion Headquarters, left Switch Trench as A 
and C Companies advanced from Gap Trench. But they also 
had hardly left their trench when a terrific barrage fell on the 
advancing line. Nevertheless, led by Major Orr, these com- 
panies went forward as if on parade. Although all round them 
shells were bursting and tearing gaps in their line. 1 
• These two companies advanced for a distance of about one 
thousand five hundred yards. " Officers and men falling every 
minute. The barrage advanced with the line and the further 
the line advanced the more intense became the barrage." 

It was 1 p.m. when B and D Companies, with Battalion Head- 
quarters, arrived in the original front line trench, greatly depleted 
in numbers. The losses of the whole battalion at this period 
were as follows : A Company — one officer wounded ; B Com- 
pany — one officer killed, two wounded ; C Company — the 
Company Commander and two other officers wounded ; D 
Company — Company Commander killed and two officers 

1 " The Guards on our right watched us go across and they said that they had never 
seen a regiment go into action so well ; in fact, they chaffed us and said they thought we 
were on peace-time training." {An officer f resent) 

o 193 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

wounded. About twenty-five per cent, of other ranks had 
been killed or wounded. 

At about 1.37 p.m. the barrage lifted, but the enemy's 
machine-guns continued to pour a venomous fire on the old 
British front-line trench and it was not possible to advance to the 
assistance of A Company, which had gone to help the attack of 
the 4th Grenadiers. 

The old front-line trench now held elements of at least four 
battalions — Lincolnshire among them. The latter were, there- 
fore, withdrawn to the sunken road (Watling Street) east of Flers 
and reorganized. They then again moved into the old front line 
and the men of other units were withdrawn : this was about 8 
p.m. A Company still held on in front of the German strong 
point — No. 91 — and the position became the new front, in touch 
on the right with the 1st and 4th Grenadiers, and on the left 
with the 9th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. 

Towards midnight the 1st Lincolnshire received orders to 
withdraw to Switch Trench. Throughout the 26 th the bat- 
talion (with the exception of A Company, still in the new front 
line) remained in Switch Trench. Tea and rum were issued 
during the afternoon and a supply sent to A Company. At 
7 p.m. the battalion withdrew from Switch Trench and marched 
back to bivouac lines north of Bernafay Wood. A Company 
marched in at about 9.30 p.m., having been relieved by the 15th 
Durham Light Infantry. 

The 1st Lincolnshire's losses in this battle were : Captain 
W.H. Rushton, 2nd Lieutenants CD. Prangley and L.W. 
McClure John and twenty-one other ranks killed ; Captain 
J.E.N.P. Denning, 1 Lieutenant G.P. Day, 1 and 2nd Lieutenants 
W. Brydges-Sayers, C. Simmons, G.R. Wall, J.S. Carr, F.W. 
Frazier and R J. Wood, and one hundred and twenty-seven other 
ranks wounded. Major H.M.C. Orr and 2nd Lieutenants C.F. 
Dring and H.J. Marling were wounded, but remained at duty. 
Sixteen other ranks were missing. Total : fourteen officers and 
one hundred and sixty-four other ranks. 

The 1st Contingent of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, 
attached to the 1st Lincolnshire, lost very heavily, losing fifty 
per cent, of their personnel. The survivors were trained as 
Lewis gunners, and amalgamated with the 2nd Contingent, thus 
preserving the identity of " the Bermudas " as a unit. 

Throughout the 27th and 28 th the Lincolnshire remained in 
bivouacs north of Bernafay Wood in reserve to the 64th Brigade. 
They provided carrying parties to take material up to the firing 
line. 

Gueudecourt fell later to the noth Brigade (21st Division). 

1 Died of wounds, 26/9/16. 

194 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [SEPT . ,6th, 1916 

The failure of the attack described above was largely due to a 
want of knowledge of the ground over which the attack was made. 
The ground over which the first attack passed was dead ground, 
and that part of Gird Trench which ran through it, and the wire 
defences in front, were sheltered from the observers in the British 
gunners' observation posts. The enemy's defences right and 
left of this portion of Gird Trench had been completely shattered 
by our bombardment, but in front of the 64th Brigade the wire 
was uncut, and the brigade, in consequence, could not reach the 
enemy's front line. 



VII 

THE BATTLE OF THIEPVAL RIDGE : 26tH-28tH SEPTEMBER 

The final attack on Thiepval was made not only for the purpose 
of securing the German defences there, which had for so long 
defied capture, but in order to bring the left flank of the British 
front into line with the right and establish it on the main ridge 
above the village, which was of considerable tactical value. 

The attack on the ridge running from the north-west of Cource- 
lette to the Schwaben Redoubt was carried out by the Canadian 
Corps on the right and the II. Corps (1 ith and 1 8th Divisions) on 
the left ; Mouquet Farm, Zollern Redoubt and Hessian Trench, 
with Stuff Redoubt, were the objectives allotted to the nth 
Division, of which the 34th (right) and 33rd (left) were the 
attacking brigades. The 1 8 th Division was to capture Thiepval 
(or rather the heap of stones and bricks and mortar — all that was 
left of the village) and the Schwaben Redoubt. 

The 6th Lincolnshire were in support to the 6th Borderers 
and 9th Sherwood Foresters, the attacking battalions of the 33rd 
Brigade. The battalion also supplied carrying parties and moved 
up to the old support line—Ration Trench— at 12.35 P- m - (<**? 
minutes after zero hour on the 26th), where they remained until 
4-2o, when they took over Brimstone and Border Trenches — the 
old firing line — finally moving to Constance Trench at 10 p.m. 
This work was carried on for the most part under heavy shell-fire, 
and the battalion behaved with the greatest gallantry, contributing 
to the success of the whole operation. It should be remembered 
also that Constance Trench, which was the jumping-off ground 
for the attack, had been captured by the 6th Lincolnshire on the 
1 5th/ 1 6th September. 

At midnight two companies were sent up to support the 7th 
South Staffords in Schwaben Trench, which had been captured 

195 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

that day, but these two companies returned to Constance during 
the afternoon of the 27th and the whole battalion was employed 
in carrying stores up to the front line. On the 28th the 6th 
Lincolnshire were engaged in establishing ammunition dumps 
near the front line. 

On the 2 9th the battalion relieved the 6th Borderers in Hessian, 
Zollern and Schwaben Trenches, At about 1.45" p.m. the 
32nd Brigade (on the right of the 33rd) again attacked the por- 
tion of Stuff Redoubt held by the enemy, and after a stiff fight 
succeeded in capturing it, but finally were only able to hold the 
northern half. C Company of the 6th Lincolnshire, under 
Captain Burrows, lent timely assistance by taking over three 
hundred yards of the 32nd Brigade line : they also brought up 
bombs, S.A.A., etc., which were badly needed. They held on 
to this line until 3.30 p.m. on the 30th, when the 8th Loyal North 
Lanes, relieved them. The battalion then marched back to 
billets in Hedauville. 

The 6th Lincolnshire lost, from the 26th to the 30th of 
September, one officer (2nd Lieutenant J.H. Ingersoll) and 
fourteen other ranks killed, and seventy-one wounded. 



VIII 

ZENITH TRENCH : 2 3RD OCTOBER 

Among the many operations in the Great War which have no 
official recognition in the form of a " Battle Honour," was an 
attack made on the enemy's positions to the east of Les Boeufs 
and Gueudecourt, in conjunction with French operations against 
the Sailly-Saillisel heights and St. Pierre Vaast Wood. Bad 
weather put an end to the Battle of Le Transloy, on the 1 8 th 
October, and while waiting for conditions to improve in order 
that further operations on the Ancre could be begun, the attack 
referred to above took place. Two divisions took part in this 
operation, i.e., the 4th and the 8th. 

The 8 th Division, after the terrible losses sustained between 
the 1st and 4th of July had (as already mentioned) been with- 
drawn from the line and, by the end of that month, had settled 
down in the Loos area, the 2nd Lincolnshire (25th Brigade) 
spending from the 23rd of July to the 2nd of August in the 
trenches east of Sailly la Bourse. This tour cost the battalion 
one officer (2nd Lieutenant H.J. de Cann) and two other ranks 
killed, and eleven wounded. 

Normal trench warfare occupied the 2nd Battalion for over 
196 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [oct.,i 9 i« 

two months, but although the front-line trenches were frequently- 
very unhealthy spots, both sides being exceedingly active, 
there are few incidents of outstanding importance to record. 
The Hohenzollern and Quarries sectors were both known to the 
Lincolnshire, who served several tours in each. During a tour 
in the latter, which began on the 1 5th August and ended on the 
3 1st (a long tour), Major W.N. Pitt was wounded and died of his 
wounds on the 20th. On the 19th of September (the battalion 
being then in the Hohenzollern sector) a raid was attempted on 
the enemy's trenches, which was only partially successful. In 
this affair 2nd Lieutenant H.J. Dickinson, who was in charge of 
the left party, gallantly entered the enemy's trenches, but was 
killed, while 2nd Lieutenant Wreford, commanding the right 
party, was wounded when helping to carry wounded men back 
to the trenches. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire were relieved on the 10th of October 
and moved back to Houchin, thence on the 1 ith to Lozinghem, 
where three days were spent in training. But the 8 th Division 
had been ordered back to the Somme, and on the 14th, after a 
march to Lillers, the Lincolnshire entrained and on reaching 
Pont Remy during the afternoon, marched to Airaines. They 
were back in familiar surroundings, and when on the 1 6th they 
made another move to the well-known Citadel Camp, near 
Meaulte, the battalion knew that very soon they would be in the 
front line again. 

The move up took place on the 1 9th. They left the Somme 
at the height of the summer, in sweltering heat ; they returned 
to a scene of desolation impossible of description. Mud and 
water were everywhere and as they splashed their way through 
to Trones Wood, chilled to the bone by the keen wind of rapidly 
approaching winter, they had visions of what the front line 
trenches were likely to be. On reaching Trones Wood, a halt 
was made for dinner, after which, at 4.15 p.m., they pushed on 
and, during the night of the 19th /20th, took over a line of 
trenches near Les Boeufs from the 8th Bedfords. 

The sub-sector taken over by the 25th Brigade (Gusty and 
Misty Trenches) lay opposite a salient in the German line formed 
by the two trenches, Zenith and Eclipse. The 2 3rd Brigade 
was on the right of the 25th Brigade and the 24th on its left. 

Hardly had the Lincolnshire settled down in the line when it 
became evident that the battalion was in for a bad time. The 
trenches were in a poor condition, for that portion of the line 
was of recent capture and the troops who had held it, in the midst 
of rain and mud, expecting counter-attacks and subjected to 
heavy shell-fire, were unable to do a great deal of work. 

The 20th, 2 1st and 22nd were days of great artillery activity : 

197 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the opposing guns shelled one another's trenches (forward and 
back areas) and generally made existence in the front line uncom- 
fortable. One officer of the Lincolnshire (2nd Lieutenant W.J. 
Rawson) was wounded during this period. On the 21st the 
battalion lost one other rank killed, seventeen wounded and eight 
missing. That night assembly trenches for the attack were 
begun. 

The assault was originally timed to begin at 9.30 a.m., on the 
23rd, but owing to fog was postponed until 2.30 p.m. At day- 
break on the 23rd the 2nd Lincolnshire moved to their assembly 
trenches, which were just behind Gusty Trench. The battalion 
formed up with A (right) and D (left) Companies (under 2nd 
Lieutenant J.B. Drysdale and Captain A.H.W. Burton respect- 
ively) in the front line, and C (2nd Lieutenant C.W. Spicer) and 
B (2nd Lieutenant H.W. Coneybeare) in close support in the 
second line. 

At 2.30 p.m. a creeping barrage fell and, keeping close up to 
the screen of fire, the 2nd Lincolnshire, flanked on right and left 
by the and Middlesex and 2nd Rifle Brigade respectively, ad- 
vanced to the attack. The battalion went forward in fine style : 
the first waves kept so close to the barrage that an officer and 
several men were wounded by our shrapnel. 

Three-quarters of an hour before zero the enemy was observed 
working down Zenith Trench from the right, with the evident 
intention of getting back via Eclipse Trench, but our guns had 
so damaged this trench and blocked it with debris that he was 
unable to carry out his intention. The consequence was that 
the trenches in front of the Lincolnshire at zero hour were packed 
with German troops. 

The battalion had advanced about ten yards, when there 
occurred a deed of great gallantry on the part of a German officer. 
All the records speak of this man's actions in glowing terms. 
The Diary of the 2nd Lincolnshire records that " as soon as the 
battalion started to assault a very gallant German officer ran 
down his own parapet and got his men up and stopped us by 
rifle-fire." 

The two front companies (A and D) were brought to a stand- 
still. " The enemy," states the report of the Brigadier com- 
manding the 25th Brigade, " got up very quickly and stood 
shoulder high on the parapet, firing ' rapid ' at our men. . . . 
All this took place in the midst of our standing and creeping 
barrages." 

The first wave of the Lincolnshire was shot down almost to a 
man, only one section on the extreme right, where the 2nd 
Middlesex had reached their objective, entered the German 
trench, which at that particular point was empty. This party 
198 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [NO v. i 3 th-i8th, 1916 

bombed some little way down the trench and maintained its 
position during the night. The second wave, coming under 
violent machine-gun fire as well as the rapid rifle-fire already 
mentioned, also failed to reach Zenith Trench. 

" By about 5 p.m.," reports the Brigadier, " the information 
available was to the effect that the 2nd Lincolnshire appeared to 
have been wiped out, that the Officer Commanding, Rifle 
Brigade, could find very few of his men — it (Zenith Trench) was 
also strongly held and had been reinforced over the open during 
the afternoon." 

The Lincolnshire were not quite wiped out, but had lost very 
heavily, and just after 5 p.m. were ordered back to Rose Trench 
in Brigade Support : all but the small party in Zenith Trench on 
the extreme right of the 25th Brigade front, in touch with the 
Middlesex of the 23rd Brigade. It is impossible to state when 
these gallant fellows were withdrawn. A second attack on 
Zenith by other troops also failed. 

The strength of the 2nd Lincolnshire on going into action 
was sixteen officers and four hundred and seventy other ranks ; 
they came out of action having lost thirteen officers 1 and 
two hundred and seventy-two other ranks. 

Until the 27th the remnants of the battalion remained in 
Rose Trench, and after they had reorganized provided carrying 
parties for bringing in the wounded ; they were then relieved 
by the 1st Royal Irish Rifles and marched back to bivouacs near 
Trones Wood. The end of October found them once more in 
camp at the Citadel, near Meaulte, reorganizing and training. 



IX 

THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE ! I3TH-18TH NOVEMBER 

Early in November the weather improved : dry and cold days 
were followed by frosty nights and misty mornings. Under such 
favourable conditions the ground improved considerably, though 
in, places it was still very bad. Preparations were therefore 
pushed on for an attack on the enemy's positions on the 
Ancre. 

The enemy's defences in this area were formidable, for since 
the 1st of July, he had spent the interval in much hard work, 

t 1 KiUed-Captain A.H.W. Burton, 2 nd Lieutenants J.D. Drysdale, C.W. Spicer, L.B. 
Jones, FJ. Ritchie 5 wounded- 2 nd Lieutenants W.A. Bartlett, A.B. Radford, F. Hog- 
ben, M. Stuart-Meulett, H.W. Coneybeare (died of -wounds, 24(10 fit), w - Moss » ^'1- 
Lll l> R.J. Hett, A.S.C. attached (died of wounds, 26/10/16). 

199 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

improving and extending them. St. Pierre Divion, Beaumont 
Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre had been so strongly fortified 
that it was apparent the enemy intended making them a per- 
manent line of fortifications while he attacked elsewhere : he had 
multiplied the number of guns covering this part of his front, and 
at the end of October had put an extra division into his line be- 
tween Grandcourt and Hebuterne. 

On the i ith of November we began a preliminary bombard- 
ment and for two days, with bursts of great intensity the guns 
poured shell into his defences, until it seemed that nothing could 
possibly live in such an inferno. 

Then at 5.45 a.m. on the 13th, protected by a very effective 
barrage, seven divisions attacked the German line from east of 
Schwaben Redoubt to north of Serre. 1 

The 1 2th November, the day before the assault, the 63rd 
Brigade reached Lealvillers and Acheux Wood, the 8th Lincoln- 
shire being in trenches in the wood, where they remained through- 
out the 1 3th. On that day the 63rd (Naval) Division, attacking 
close to the right bank of the river, by nightfall was established 
in the western outskirts of Beaucourt. On the 14th the whole 
of Beaucourt was carried, and the 63rd Brigade of the 37^ 
Division relieved troops of the Naval Division in Beaucourt, and 
trenches on the left of the place. 

Early on the morning of the 14th the 8th Lincolnshire (in 
brigade) marched from Acheux Wood for the front line. They 
arrived at a camp near Martinsart at about 1 p.m., where they 
remained until about 7 p.m. Having made arrangements for 
the relief of troops of the 63rd Division, they took over part of 
the position captured by the Naval Division, which included a 
portion of Beaucourt village. 

The Battalion Diary contains the following entry : " 1 4. 1 1 . 1 6 
to 20. 1 1 . 1 6. Battalion in action, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel 
R.H. Johnston, D.S.O. Casualties, officers wounded — Captain 
J.T. Preston, and 2nd Lieutenant A.B. Wiggins ; wounded and 
missing believed prisoner, 2nd Lieutenant L.D. Edwards. Other 
ranks, killed — fourteen ; wounded — one hundred and fifteen ; 
missing — eight ; evacuated sick— thirty-five. Total, including 
thirty-four n.c.o.s-— one hundred and seventy-two.'* 

Colonel Johnston gives this further information : " In the 
days following (after the relief on the 14th) further ground was 
secured by means of parties pushed out at night. Shelling on 
this ground both by day and by night was very heavy and con- 
siderable work was carried out under the greatest difficulties. 
The weather was consistently bad. Rain and snow made what 
was left of the trenches a mass of mud. For twelve days work 

x The Divisions from right to left were : 19th, 39th, 63rd, 51st, 2nd, 3rd and 31st. 
200 



THE BATTLES OF THE SOMME, 1916, 



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Line reached 1st, July >*« 

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GENERAL RESULTS D uly- noV ., , 9 ,6 

was carried out by the battalion under these circumstances, 
during which time none of the battalion had their clothes off, 
and on coming out of the trenches the men appeared covered 
from head to foot in mud." 

Between Beaucourt and Beaumont Hamel the ground was 
broken up in all directions by trenches, most of which had been 
flattened by our artillery. All the roads running out of the 
former village had suffered in a similar manner. The front, 
such as it was, was a series of posts which it was often impossible 
to reach by daylight. North of Beaucourt and between Artillery 
Lane and the Puisieux road the ground was honeycombed with 
German dug-outs. All round, the battlefield was pitted with 
enormous shell-holes, mostly full of noisome water : it was all a 
desolate picture ! 

Although the 63 rd Brigade attacked the enemy on the 18 th 
of November, the 8 th Lincolnshire do not appear to have been 
engaged. On the 21st the battalion moved back into reserve 
until the 23rd, when fresh trenches at Beaumont Hamel were 
taken over. Here also seas of viscous mud had to be waded 
through, and life in the shell-hole posts was one long agony. 
After three days the Lincolnshire were relieved and marched 
back to billets in Mailly Maillet. At the latter place a, large 
draft joined the battalion to replace the severe losses incurred. 
Work on the reorganization and the training of these new men 
was at once begun. Since the 1st of July the 8 th Lincolnshire 
had lost over forty officers and one hundred n.c.o.s — a terrible 
toll, and one which will give some idea of the difficulties of keep- 
ing the battalion fit and smart. It was, therefore, very gratifying 
when, on the 7th of December, when the Divisional Commander 
inspected the battalion, it received great praise. 

The Somme battles of 1 9 1 6 were over 1 Every battalion of 
the Lincolnshire Regiment, i.e., 1st, 2nd, 1 /4th, 1 /5th, 6th, 7th, 
8 th and 10th, then in France and Flanders, had been engaged in 
the terrific fighting between the 1st of July and the 18 th of 
November. Their losses had been terrible, but they had well 
and truly maintained the honour of the Regiment ; even when 
their casualties had reached figures which meant that the battalion 
"was almost wiped out, their courage was maintained. 

In his despatch dated the 23rd December, 1916, in summar- 
izing the general results of the Somme battles, Sir Douglas Haig 
wrote that the three main objects with which the offensive had 
been commenced in July had been achieved : " Verdun had been 
relieved ; the main German forces had been held on the Western 
Front and the enemy's strength had been very considerably worn 
down. Any one of these three results is in itself sufficient to 
justify the Somme battles. The attainment of all three of these 

201 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

affords ample compensation for the splendid efforts of our troops 
and for the sacrifices made by ourselves and our Allies. They 
have brought us a long step forward towards the final victory 
of the Allied cause." (Despatch of the iyd December^ 1916, 
para. 38.) 



202 



PART SIX 

THE BATTLES OF ARRAS AND LENS 

1917 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



A 2nd BERMUDA CONTINGENT [0C t., 1916 
I 

TRENCH WARFARE FROM JULY I 9 I 6 TO THE 1ST MARCH, I917 

THE battles of the Somme, in which all battalions of the 
Lincolnshire Regiment in France in 191 6 took part, which 
began in July and ended in November, alternated with 
periods passed in training camps, or in the monotony, discomfort 
and danger, of tours in the trenches. Few noteworthy incidents 
mark the history of battalions during the period, ending in 
December 1 9 1 6, which followed the last of the Somme battles. 
Casualties continued, generally caused by artillery-fire, though 
in smaller numbers. 

The 1 st Lincolnshire was joined at Maries les Mines, in 
October 19 16, by the 2nd Contingent of the Bermuda Volun- 
teers — 2nd Lieutenant Trimingham, and thirty other ranks, 
trained as machine-gunners. The 1st Contingent had lost fifty 
per cent, of their strength in the fighting at Gueudecourt, and 
were trained as Lewis gunners : the two contingents were now 
amalgamated and furnished twelve Lewis gun teams to the 1st 
Battalion. Two officers were killed during a tour of duty in the 
trenches, and Lieutenant J.L.P. Barnicott, on the 22nd Decem- 
ber, and 2nd Lieutenant J. Larkin on Christmas Day. 

Lieut.-Colonel E.P. Gould, 1st Buffs, joined on the 13th 
December, and assumed command of the battalion, and on the 
29 th of the month all ranks were delighted at a visit paid by the 
Colonel of the Regiment, Major-General C.R. Simpson, C.B., 
who inspected the battalion during the morning on parade. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire had several moves in and out of the 
line, and lost one officer, Lieutenant Churchill, and twenty 
other ranks killed, and fifty-two wounded. 

The 4th and 5th Lincolnshire, in the Bienvillers-Berles sub- 
sector, had the unpleasant experience of one thousand two hun- 
dred and forty-four gas cylinders installed in the front-line 
trenches, there to await a favourable wind'! The presence of 
these cylinders was a constant source of annoyance to the trench 
garrisons, owing to leakage, while the danger from premature 
discharge of the poisonous fumes by a chance hit by one of the 
enemy's shells produced an uncomfortable sense of insecurity. 
Six of the cylinders were actually burst by enemy shell-fire on the 
22nd August. 2nd Lieutenant Coles and fourteen other 
ranks of the £th Lincolnshire were badly gassed, one of them 
dying later at Berles. Lance-Corporal B. Hill, in the bay next to 
that in which the cylinders burst, though badly gassed himself, 
remained in the trench and warned all men in the neighbourhood 

205 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

to put on their gas masks, as well as rousing all men asleep in 
the dug-outs. His disregard of his personal safety undoubtedly 
saved several lives and numerous casualties. He was awarded 
the D.C.M. The gas was eventually released, with a favourable 
wind, on the 30th August. 

In September more gas cylinders were installed in the front 
line, to the great disgust of the garrison, and on the 30th a large 
number of them were damaged by enemy fire. Fortunately the 
wind was in our favour, and carried the fumes across No Man's 
Land to the German trenches. When at last it became obvious 
that the presence of gas cylinders in the front line was known to 
the German artillery, their removal was ordered — to the great 
relief of the troops. On the night of the 4th October the last 
cylinder was removed by a fatigue party of the Lincolnshire. 

Two raids were carried out. One by the 4th Lincolnshire 
on the 5th October, and another by the 5th Lincolnshire on the 
1 8 th. The raiders on the second occasion, from A Company, 
entered the German trenches about 8.30 p.m., and brought back 
a shoulder strap and a helmet — sufficient to establish the identity 
of the German unit holding the line. The General Officer 
Commanding Division wired : " Well done 5th Lincolns." 
Soon after this the 138th Infantry Brigade had a month out of 
the line for rest and training. 

The 6th Lincolnshire moved out of the line after the Battle of 
Thiepval Ridge, at the end of September, and did not return to 
it till the 14th November, to a wretched part of the battlefield, 
a ravine west of Beaucourt, where the front line consisted largely 
of shell-holes, unconnected, and full of mud and water. The 
battalion came under heavy fire, and had ten men knocked out, 
and Sergeant-Major Good and Sergeant-Major Needham killed. 

Capture of Zenith Trench 

The 7th Lincolnshire, after the Battle of Bazentin Ridge 
(14th- 1 7th July), was in and out of the line in various places 1 
until, on the 1st November, it relieved the 7th Border Regiment 
in support between Les Boeufs and Gueudecourt. Throughout 
the whole of the 1st November, day and night, the front and 
support lines, held by the 51st Brigade, were heavily shelled. 
The Border Regiment, to whom the 7th Lincolnshire were in 
support, held Misty and Gusty Trenches. During the evening 
of the 2nd November the Border Regiment attacked Zenith 
Trench capturing some of it, and established a post in Eclipse 
Trench. They were then relieved by the 7th Lincolnshire, 

1 Officer casualties during this period were : and Lieutenant J. Harrison killed acci- 
dentally, the 31st August and and Lieutenant E. Roberts died of wounds, 10th October. 
206 



THE 7<th LINCOLNSHIRE [NOV . 3 rd, z 9l6 

which put all four companies in the front line. The usual heavy 
shelling and sniping went on during the night, and on the 3rd 
two determined German attacks were made after four hours 
bombardment. The first was beaten off after being allowed to 
approach within seventy yards of our position (2nd Lieutenant 
Thomas' idea). The second was defeated by the skill of an 
aviator, who, noticing our plight, flew back and got our guns on 
the enemy. All S.O.S. trench signals had rotted in the mud. 
Over one hundred dead Germans were counted in front of our 
line, and four were taken prisoners. Very few returned to their 
lines unwounded. 



w -J. 
























_ ,J?> 



ZENITH TRENCH 



At 5 p.m. that evening, A Company (Captain R. Pennington 1 ) 
supported by the battalion bombers under 2nd Lieutenant J.R. 
Williams, attacked and captured that part of Zenith Trench still 
in possession of the enemy. Taken completely by surprise, the 
enemy was absolutely beaten. About forty Germans were killed, 
two officers and thirty-three other ranks were taken prisoner, and 
four machine-guns were added to the trophies of the 7 th Lin- 
colnshire. 2 

It was when the German attack was dying away that 

1 Captain R. Pennington was awarded the D.S.O., Captain E.R. Lindley, and and 
Lieutenants W.E. Thomas and J.R. Williams, the M.C., and Private G.R. Richer, the 
D.C.M. 

2 Officer casualties to the end of the year were : Captain C.R. Barnes and 2nd Lieutenant 
T.E. Stubbs, wounded on the nth November, and Lieutenant A.R.H. Squires wounded 
accidentally on the 9th December. 

207 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Captain Pennington seized the opportunity to crawl behind the 
German trench. The attack was made without bombardment, 
and was a complete surprise. The bombers under Lieutenant 
Williams bombed along the face of the trench. The mud was 
knee-deep and the weather was vile. The trench had defied 
capture for some three weeks, although some slight progress was 
made by successive units, in establishing bombing blocks. 

This brilliant affair drew from the Divisional Commander the 
following congratulatory message, published in a General Order : 
" The General Officer Commanding wishes to place on record 
his appreciation of the gallant manner in which Zenith Trench 
was captured and held against all counter-attacks by the 7th 



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Sketch 6y Capt. Ml I ford 



Lincolnshire Regiment and 7th Border Regiment. The fact 
that the 7th Border Regiment had already done forty-eight 
hours in close support, and were completing their tour of forty- 
eight hours in the front line makes their performance all the 
finer. The General Officer Commanding is particularly pleased 
with the initiative displayed by the Battalion and Company Com- 
manders concerned. The dash and determination displayed 
despite the bad weather and most trying conditions, reflect the 
greatest credit on all ranks concerned, and will still further 
enhance the good name gained by the 1 7th Division in the Battle 
of the Somme," 

The battalion lost in this affair 2nd Lieutenant J.E. Robinson, 
and twenty-four others killed, 2nd Lieutenant R.H. Merry- 
weather, and sixty-three other ranks wounded, and ten missing. 
The 4th November was spent in consolidating the ground gained. 
The remainder of the year was spent on the Somme without any 
special incident to record. 

There is nothing out of the ordinary routine to record of the 
8 th Lincolnshire, except that Lieut.-Colonel R.H. Johnston gave 
up command of the battalion on the 9th December. 

The 10th Lincolnshire carried out two raids, one in October, 
and one on the 2 1st December. Neither was successful. The 
first raid failed partly because of uncut wire, and because the time 
allowed — five minutes — was too short. The wire had just been 
208 



TRENCH WARFARE [JAN .- MAR ., igi7 

cut by hand, when the raiders were recalled. Captain H.N, 
Newsum, and 2nd Lieutenant R. Brett were awarded M.C.'s, 
and Lance-Sergeant J.L. Plowman, Corporal F.L. Westley, and 
Private E. Hurst, M.M.'s for their share in this raid. The ioth 
Battalion at the end of 1 9 1 6 was in Fort Rompu. 

There is little to record of historical interest of the eight bat- 
talions of the Lincolnshire Regiment in France at the beginning 
of 1 9 1 7, up to the middle of March. All had many moves ; 
tours in the trenches in great discomfort from mud and wet, as 
well as danger, from hostile fire, or raids, and periods spent in 
training camps, or as working parties. About the 1 5th March 
the 1st, 6th and 7th Battalions were in the neighbourhood of 
Doullens. The 1st at Halloy, the 7th at Gezaincourt, both 
training, and the 6th in the Authie valley working on the railway ; 
strenuous work which the battalion did so well as to earn special 
appreciation from the Officer Commanding, the Railway Con- 
struction Company, as well as from the Brigade Commander, 
33rd Brigade. On the 5th February the 7th Battalion defeated 
an attempted raid by Germans, dressed in white, to match the 
snow, whilst in the Sailly Saillisel sector ; one German wearing 
two iron crosses was brought in badly wounded — he died a few 
hours later. Officer casualties in the 7th, from January to 
March inclusive were : Captain R. Pennington and Lieutenant 
C.S. Bott wounded on the 14th January, and Captain D. Roberts 
on the 4th February. 

The 1st and 8th 1 Battalions met at Mazingarde on the 28th 
February, the latter remaining in the training area allotted to the 
37th Division at Neuville-au-Cornet. On the 1st March, 
Lieut.-Colonel L.P. Evans, D.S.O., from the Black Watch, who 
was later to win the V.C., took over command of the 1st Battalion 
from Lieut.-Colonel E.F. Gould, of the Buffs. 

The 2nd Battalion of the Regiment had a more eventful time. 
Though it spent some time in training camps, it had several 
tours in the front line, north of the Somme, part of the extended 
British front taken over from the French, previous to Nivelle's 
intended attack in 1917. Lieutenant F.A.I. Richardson and 
2nd Lieutenant O. Evans were wounded during the tour in the 
Sailly Saillisel sector early in January. February was a quiet 
month. A raid under 2nd Lieutenant Middleton, with thirty 
other ranks from C Company was attempted on the German 
trenches south of the Bouchavesnes-Moslain road on the night 
of the 27th /28th February, but failed to enter the German 
trenches, as the artillery had not cut the wire sufficiently. A 

1 Lieut-Colonel E.A, Cameron, commanding the 8th Battalion was wounded on the 
14th January, and Major D, Davies-Evans was in temporary command till the arrival 
of Lieut.-Colonel T. Astley Cubitt on the ioth February. 

P 209 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

second attempt was made by the same party on the night of the 
29th, but met a German patrol, and after driving it back, came 
under machine-gun fire, and could not advance further. During 
this tour in the trenches fourteen other ranks were killed, and 2nd 
Lieutenant J.D. Garrod and sixteen other ranks were wounded. 
On the 4th March the 8 th Division attacked the enemy east 
of Bouchavesnes, as from the high ground east of the village the 
Germans could overlook our divisional area, and forward 
trenches. The 2,5th Brigade on the right, and the 24th on the 
left were to turn them out. In the 25th Brigade, the 2nd Royal 
Berkshire was detailed to assault, and the 2nd Lincolnshire sup- 
plied C Company and half D to mop up, B Company and the 
remainder of D to form carrying parties, and A Company and 
the Battalion Lewis gunners to hold the line, from which the 
attack was to be launched. The Berkshire advanced at zero 
hour, 5.15 a.m., under an excellent barrage, and captured Pallas 
and Fritz Trenches. The Lincolnshire Diary mentions that 
" the attack was successful, and all objectives were gained," but 
gives no details. There is a brief reference in the Brigade 
Narrative to operations of the Lincolnshire, which says that their 
carrying parties lost direction and suffered heavy casualties, 
whilst the moppers-up having entered Pallas Trench, moved 
too far to their left, though they were in touch with the 24th 
24th Brigade. The battalion casualties were : 2nd Lieutenant 
R.A.F. Grantham, and eighteen other ranks killed, and 2nd 
Lieutenants Galpin and Nicholls, and fifty-three other ranks 
wounded ; 2nd Lieutenant Cox and thirteen other ranks missing. 
The 1 /4th and i/^th Battalions remained during January, 
February and to the middle of March, near Gommecourt. They 
occupied in turn the Fonquevillers trenches, which in January 
were deep in mud, so that the men often had to sleep outside the 
dug-outs, on the firing steps. In one sector the trenches were 
sofull of water that it came over the tops of the gum boots- 
thigh. In both the right and centre companies' sectors, 
trenches had to be abandoned, and the abandoned portions wired 
in. In time, by pumping, draining and clearing trenches, and 
constant hard work, the front-line trenches became cleaner and 
more habitable ; but it was a hard life. 

Little of interest happened in January, but on the 28 th 
February, the 1 /5th Lincolnshire received sudden news that the 
1 /4th Leicesters had, during the night of the 27th/28th occupied 
Gommecourt, the enemy having evacuated the Park, Village and 
Chateau. However, attempts to occupy " Z " Trench opposite 
the Lincolnshire front were met by heavy fire. The Germans 
had not yet determined to vacate that part of their front. 

An incident in No Man's Land whilst the 1 /4th Battalion 
210 



THE 2/ 4 th & 2/5TH LINCOLNSHIRE [PBB , I?17 

held the trenches in the Hannescamps sector has to be men- 
tioned. A patrol of C Company under 2nd Lieutenant J.R. 
Neave, on the Hannescamps-Essarts road, about six hundred 
yards from their own lines, on the 15th February, was surrounded 
by strong enemy patrols. Fortunately the Lincolnshire had a 
Lewis gun under Sergeant Doe, and, with great gallantry, the 
patrol fought its way through the Germans, and established 
itself in some old gun-pits, whence the enemy was beaten off 
and compelled to retire to his own lines. The patrol found the 
body of a dead German, and brought it back to the trenches. 
The 1 /4th was congratulated by the General Officer Command- 
ing the Division, and the Brigade Commander ; 2nd Lieutenant 
Neave was awarded the M.C., and Sergeant Doe and Corporal 
Fluke the M.M. 

On the 13th March, the i/4th and i/j:th Lincolnshire being 
then out of the line, at St. Amand (four miles north-west of Gom- 
mecourt) news was received of the enemy's retirement from 
Grevillers, and the trenches in front of Achiet le Petit. All 
existing orders were cancelled, and the Lincolnshire ordered to 
be ready to march at short notice. 

The 10th Lincolnshire, which ended the year at Fort Rompu, 
was for some time in the front line in January, in bitterly cold 
weather, until relieved by New Zealand troops. During 
February and March the battalion moved from place to place, 
either training or finding working parties, until on the 20th 
March it went into billets in Arras. 

At the end of February the number of Lincolnshire battalions 
in France was raised from eight to ten, by the arrival of the 
2 /4th and 2 /5th, as part of the 177th Brigade, 59th Division. 
They arrived at Bayonvillers (thirty miles east of Amiens) on the 
28 th February, and went into the line south of the Amiens- 
Estrees-Villers Carbonell road, in the first week in March. 
Lieutenant Goodman, the Bombing Officer of the 2 /5th was 
wounded on the 4th March, and two other ranks of the 2 /4th 
on the 6th. There were five more casualties in each battalion 
from shell-fire or rifle-grenades by the middle of the month. ^ A 
patrol of the 2 /5th under 2nd Lieutenant R.H. Turner, which 
went out at midnight on the 10th, did not return till 8.30 on the 
1 ith, having lain out in a shell-hole, thirty yards from the German 
wire all day. The discomfort of the trenches may be inferred 
from the following quotation from a diary : " The front-line 
trench is very bad condition, and the men are very exhausted 
after three days. It has been necessary to dig men out of the mud" 
On the 1 2th Captain A.M. Worrall was wounded in the 
shoulder, and one man was killed and another wounded during 
the day. 

211 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

An entry in the Battalion Diary, made at 7.30 p.m. on the 
1 2 th, to the effect that fires were observed in the German reserve 
lines, is full of significance, though the writer did not realize it 
at the time. The enemy was preparing to evacuate his trenches 
and retire to the Hindenburg Line. 



II 

THE GERMAN RETREAT AND THE BRITISH ADVANCE TO THE 
HINDENBURG LINE : I4.TH MARCH-^TH APRIL, I917 

The enormous losses sustained by the enemy in 1916, first 
at Verdun, and then on the Somme, left him with no choice but 
to shorten his line. 

On the 4th February, therefore, the German Higher Command 
issued orders that preparations were to be made to evacuate the 
front line from opposite Arras to the Aisne valley, north-west of 
Rheims. Behind this line a new powerful system of defences, 
known as the Hindenburg Line, was to run from the enemy's 
defences near Arras, in a south-easterly direction for twelve miles 
to Queant, thence west of Cambrai to St. Quentin, La Fere, St. 
Gobain to the northern banks of the Aisne, east of Crouy. It 
is with those sectors of the line, held by divisions which contained 
battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment, who followed up the 
retreating enemy across the devastated area, that this story deals. 

On the night of the 13th of March the battalions in the front 
line, support or reserve, between Damery, on the Roye-Amiens 
road, and Arras were 1 /4th and 2 /5 th, south of the Somme, the 
former in support at Belloy-en-Santerre, the latter in dug-outs in 
Triangle Wood ; the 2nd Battalion in the Bouchavesnes sector, 
north of the Somme, in the front line holding the northern sub- 
sector ; 1 /4th and 1 /5th in reserve at St. Amand, but supplying 
working parties for the Gommecourt-Fonquevillers sector ; and 
the 1 st at Halloy, the 1 1st Division being then engaged in train- 
ing for offensive operations. 

The Diary of the 2 /4th records : " General warning as to 
possible withdrawal of enemy : latter very quiet." The 2 /5th 
states : " It is believed that the enemy had withdrawn east of the 
Somme." After darkness had fallen on the evening of the 16th 
red flares were observed burning in the German trenches all up 
and down the line : it was the signal for the withdrawal. 

At 2 a.m., on the 17th, and again at 7 a.m., raids were carried 
out north and south of the Estrees-Villers Carbonnel road, and 
each raiding party found that the enemy had evacuated his front 

212 



BRITISH ADVANCE [MAR ., I9I7 

line. The advance began immediately. By noon the enemy was 
definitely reported clear of the eastern bank of the Somme river. 

Beyond the old German front line (which crossed the Estrees- 
Vlllers Carbonnel road about half-way between the two villages), 
the road was found damaged to such an extent that it was impas- 
sable for transport. Both the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire 
were, therefore, hard at work repairing the road until the 20th. 
On the 2 1 st the 1 78th Brigade relieved the 1 77th in the front line, 
and the Lincolnshire went back to Foucaucourt for a few days' rest. 

The enemy was now falling back rapidly and on the 24th the 
2 /4th marched to Belloy and stopped there for the night. On 
the following morning they crossed the Somme by the bridge at 
Brie, 1 and that night took up an outpost line through Catelet. 
The 2 /5th marched to Eterpigny. On the 26th the former 
battalion again advanced and reaching Boucly, took up an out- 
post line in touch with our cavalry, who were screening the 
advance. The outpost piquets were subjected to mild shell-fire, 
but suffered no casualties. The enemy was found to be occupy- 
ing Hervilly, where he had posted snipers in the village and on 
the ridge east of it. The 2 /5th Battalion had meanwhile taken 
up an outpost line east of Beaumetz. 

At daybreak on the 27th German snipers from Hervilly fired 
on the Lincolnshire piquets and killed one man of the former. 
That night the 2 /4th sent two companies to Roisel, where they 
relieved two companies of the 1st Bucks (T.F.). The 2 /5th 
on the 27th marched to Nobescourt Farm, placing an outpost 
on the Bernes-Hamelet road. 

In the above neighbourhood the III, Corps had selected a 
main line of resistance, which all troops not actually engaged on 
outpost duty were ordered to begin digging immediately. On the 
31st the 2 /5th Leicesters, supported by the 2 /4th Lincolnshire, 
attacked Hesbecourt and cleared the enemy from the village. 
The 2 /5th Lincolnshire also supplied forty-eight Lewis gunners 
and twenty-four scouts and snipers to take part in the operation. 

On the 1st of April the 2 /4th Battalion moved to Roisel, where 
they worked to clear up the village and helped in the preparation 
of the Corps line. The 2 /5th still remained at Nobescourt Farm. 

The 2 /4th made their first attack on the 3rd. The battalion 
had sent out the usual working parties in the morning, but at 
10.45 a -*n. they were recalled as an attack had been ordered on 
Fervaque Farm and Brosse Wood that night. At 6.45 p.m., the 
Lincolnshire paraded and marched under cover to a point south 
of Hesbecourt. 

At 8.15 p.m., Company Commanders reported their men in 

1 The bridge had been repaired by our engineers sufficiently for the passage of infantry 
in single file. {Despatch of the 31st May, 1917* para. 13O 

213 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

position and moving forward under the barrage, ready for the 
assault. A and D Companies were in the firing line, C in sup- 
port and B in reserve. An hour later the barrage lifted and the 
assaulting columns at once advanced. They cameup, however, 
against belts of wire from twelve to thirty feet thick, swept by 
rifle and machine-gun fire. The enemy's 77mms., 4.2-in. and 
5.9-in.,as well as minenwerfer, also opened fire, and the attack was 
brought to a standstill. At 1 1 .50 p.m., a withdrawal was ordered. 
We were now getting very near to the Hindenburg Line and the 
Germans had no intention of allowing us to consolidate a position 
in front of their new defences. 

The 2 /4th Lincolnshire lost in this attack 2nd Lieutenant 
W.K. Carruthers and five other ranks killed, 2nd Lieutenants H. 




Hand and B.F. Mendel and thirty-five other ranks wounded and 
sixteen other ranks missing. The battalion spent the 4th resting 
in Roisel, and on the 5th moved to Templeux and took up an 
outpost line between that village and Hargicourt. 

The Hindenburg Line ran north and south through Bellicourt, 
about two and a half miles east of Hargicourt, but the enemy 
had no intention of allowing the latter place to be occupied with- 
out holding us up as long as possible and the 2 /4th Lincolnshire, 
pushing on towards the village suffered many casualties. Heavy 
shell-fire on the 6th resulted in three other ranks being killed and 
Captain C.L. Harvey 1 and sixteen men wounded. Patrols 
reached the western outskirts of Hargicourt on the 7th, but were 
shelled out ; they entered the village on the 8 th and returned to 
Templeux. Early on the 9th as the enemy was reported to be 
withdrawing, patrols were sent out, but found the Germans still 
in occupation. At midday, however, Germans were seen moving 

1 Died of wounds, ioth May, 1917, 
214 



THE 2/5-th LINCOLNSHIRE [APR . „ TH , x 9 , 7 

back from their trenches north of Fervaque Farm. At 5 p.m., 
the 1 /4th, under Brigade orders, entered the enemy's trenches 
north of Fervaque Farm, through a quarry, and took possession 
of them up to the Hargicourt-Villeret road, thence to west of 
Hargicourt. These positions were taken over by the 2 /5th 
Lincolnshire during the night of the 9th/ioth of April. 

The 2 /5th Lincolnshire also received orders to move to 
Templeux on the 5th, but as they did not set out from Nobes- 
court Farm until 6 p.m., it was dark when they reached Roisel, 
and they billeted in that place for the night, the men finding what 
accommodation they could amongst the ruins in the southern 
portion of the village. 

The 2 /5th Lincolnshire moved to Templeux on the 9th with 
orders to attack the enemy, but the latter, having vacated the 
position (which, as mentioned above, had been occupied by the 
2 /4th), the battalion took over the captured trenches and estab- 
lished an outpost line along the eastern exits of Hargicourt. 

At 6 p.m. on the 10th, the 2 /5th were ordered to push their 
posts forward and bomb down the enemy trench from Hargi- 
court to Malakoff Farm and capture en route the Quarry and 
Cologne Farm. It was decided, however, to capture the two 
latter places first, for the Quarry was strongly defended by 
machine-guns. 

Later, at 1 1 p.m., Brigade Headquarters sent a message to the 
Lincolnshire that the enemy was retiring on the Hindenburg 
Line and the battalion sent out patrols to confirm the report. 
They returned at 3 a.m. on the nth, stating that the Quarry 
and ground in the neighbourhood of Cologne Farm were clear 
of the enemy. Orders for an immediate attack were issued to 
companies. 

The attack was made at 4.30 a.m., but the report that the 
enemy had retired was false, both the Quarry and Cologne Farm 
being strongly held. The result was that the 2 /5th Lincoln- 
shire though fighting gallantly, were driven back to their original 
jumping-off line and sustained very heavy casualties. Cap- 
tain T. Bryant and Lieutenant J.W. Walker were killed, Lieu- 
tenant J. Simons and 2nd Lieutenant J.H.S. Shrewsbury were 
wounded, and Lieutenant R.W. Alston was wounded and miss- 
ing. In other ranks killed, wounded and missing, the losses were 
two hundred and fifty-four. A and C Companies, who led, 
suffered most, and were temporarily formed into one composite 
company. 

This tragic affair was the most important of several attacks on 
or by the enemy : raids and contests between fighting patrols 
being of course excepted. 

Trench warfare now commenced all along the line. The 

215 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Germans were still busy on their new line, while we had to con- 
struct ours, old German trenches being utilized wherever possible. 
Thus the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire passed the summer of 
19 17 on the Somme. There was plenty of work to do and it 
was well carried out. Out of the line route marches and train- 
ing generally occupied all ranks. 1 

At the end of August the 59th Division moved from the 
Somme to the Ypres area. The 1 /4th were established in camp 
at Winnezeele on the 31st of August, the a /5th Battalion being 
on that date in a tented camp at Proven. 

In the Bouchavesnes sector the 2nd Lincolnshire had been 
relieved on the 16th of March and were in Brigade support in 
Lock Barracks and Bouchavesnes Cellars when the enemy began 
to evacuate his line. On the 19th the battalion moved back into 
what was now the old British front line, for in front of their 
trenches there was another battalion of infantry with Corps 
mounted troops, Moislain having been entered by us. The 
Lincolnshire relieved the Welsh Guards in the Manancourt out- 
post line on the 24th. On the 26th, at 5.30 p.m., Canadian 
cavalry, in conjunction with patrols from the 2nd Leicesters, 
attacked and occupied Equancourt, and later A, B and D Com- 
panies moved up, relieving the cavalry and occupying the village, 
west of which an outpost line was dug. The next evening, at 
5.55 p.m., the enemy, after a heavy bombardment lasting half an 
hour, attacked Equancourt on D Company's frontage \ he was 
repulsed after losing heavily. Later, the Lincolnshire were re- 
lieved and moved back to Rancourt, having lost one other rank 
killed and thirteen wounded. 

But the 8 th Division was pushing on energetically, and after 
two days in reserve, the Lincolnshire on the 30th advanced to 
support the 25th Brigade, which was advancing to an outpost 
line east of Fins and Sorel le Grand, which was occupied without 
much resistance. The 2nd Battalion then moved into Equan- 
court and trenches west of that village in support. The 3 1 st 
of March found the battalion occupying the outpost line east of 
Fins, which included Dessart Wood. 

On the 4th April the battalion assembled in a valley north-east 
of Fins to support an attack by the 2nd Berkshire and 2nd Rifle 
Brigade on Gouzeaucourt Wood and the high ground south of 
the wood. Zero hour was 2 p.m., and an hour later C Company 
(Captain Clifton) moved up into close support of the Berkshire 
in the south-eastern corner of Dessart Wood, and at 4.45 p.m. 

1 Officer casualties during the period were as follows : a /4th Lincolnshire— Lieutenant 
A.J. Cook (killed 27/4/17), 2nd Lieutenant Godfrey (wounded 27/4/17), Captain E.T. 
Hicks (died 12/5/17), Lieutenant C.A.S. Everett (killed 17/6/17), 2/5* Lincolnshire— 
2nd Lieutenant F. Wright (killed 12/4/17), 2nd Lieutenant E.G. Akhurst (wounded 
2 9/4/i7)> 2nd Lieutenant G.J. Pearson (wounded 1/6/17). 
2l6 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [ap R .-,uly, i 9I7 

B Company (Captain Marshall) was sent forward to the 2nd 
Battalion of the Rifles to maintain touch between them and the 
20th Division on the left. These orders were duly carried out. 
At about 5 p.m., the remainder of the battalion moved to the 
valley north-east of Heudecourt in support of the Rifles. D 
Company maintained touch between that battalion and the 
Berkshire. The attack was successful, the attacking battalions 
reaching their objective ; the Lincolnshire then moved back to 
Fins. The next day they relieved the Berkshire in Gouzeau- 
court Wood outpost line. 1 

On the 1 8 th and the 2 ist April the 2nd Lincolnshire made two 
attacks on Gonnelieu. On the 1 8 th the battalion sent six strong 
fighting patrols, which attempted to enter the village, but 
were held up by wire and machine-guns. Lieutenant Eld, 
commanding A Company, and eleven other ranks were killed, 
and 2nd Lieutenants Garrard and Bannister and twenty-six other 
ranks wounded. Seven other ranks were missing. 

The village was reconnoitred again on the 19th and 20th, and 
successfully attacked on the 21st by B Company (Captain 
Marshall) and D Company (Captain Bruce), assaulting with A 
Company (Lieutenant Mann) and C Company (Captain Clifton), 
in support. 

The attack commenced at 4.20 a.m., and by 5.20 a.m., the 
leading companies were digging in on their final objectives north 
and east of the village. About forty-eight prisoners, four 
machine-guns and four Stokes guns were taken in this affair. 
Our casualties were — Captain Marshall and Lieutenant Bloomer 
wounded, eleven killed and forty-eight wounded in other ranks. 

May was uneventful. The 8th Division was in reserve to the 
IX. Corps during the Battle of Messines, but on the 30th July, 
the 2nd Lincolnshire moved into assembly trenches in prepara- 
tion' for the attack on the Pilkcem Ridge, in the Flanders Offen- 
sive, on the 3 1 st July. 

It will be remembered that on the 13th of March the 1 /4th 
reported that the enemy had evacuated Grevillers and his trenches 
west of Achiet le Petit, and that the battalion was awaiting orders 
to march at short notice. That night the 1 3 7th Brigade attacked 
the enemy, but found the Bucquoy Graben strongly held : the 
attack failed. On the 16th the 138th Brigade was ordered to 
repeat the attack. The 1 /4th Lincolnshire to be on the left and, 
after taking Bucquoy Graben, to pass on to Preussen Graben 
and Hill 155. 

Both the 1 /4th and 1 /5th Battalions practised the attack on 
prepared ground at Chateau de la Haie, but late at night on the 

1 Though officially the German retreat ends on the 5th April several days of fighting 
ensued after that date until our positions in front of the Hindenburg Line became stabilised. 

217 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

1 6th the operations were cancelled as the enemy had retired. 
The 138th Brigade was then ordered to relieve the 139th, 

The 1 /4th Lincolnshire marched off at 3 p.m., on the 17th 
and relieved the left battalion of the 139th Brigade in posts run- 
ning roughly east to west through Quesnoy Farm, where prepara- 
tions were made to continue the advance at dawn as touch with 
the enemy had been lost. On the night of the 1 7th/ 1 8th the 
1 /5th also moved forward to Rettemoy Farm. 

Strong patrols, pushed out early on the 18th, failed to get 
touch with the enemy, who was retiring with all speed to the 




■Hamelincour 



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Hindenburg Line. By the night of the 18 th the 1 /4th had 
formed an outpost line from Douchy to Adinfer, the 1 /£th 
(on the right of the 1 /4th) holding a spur between Ayette and 
Moyenneville. Ayette was found to be an absolute wreck, no 
shelter for the troops or water being found. Of Douchy, the 
1 /4th record that " the whole village is a mass of ruins. Houses 
have been demolished, trees cut down and roads damaged by 
mines. Surrounding villages present a similar appearance and 
the whole country bears the smear of Hun Kultur." 

Corps troops now took up the pursuit and the 1 /4th Lincoln- 
shire moved back to billets in St. Amand, the 1 /5th returning to 
Souastre. They did not, however, stay very long in these vil- 
218 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [MA *., , 9 . 7 

lages, for the 46th Division was ordered to join the II. Corps 
of the First Army and in stages marched to the Amiens area, 
where on the 27th the brigade group entrained at Saleux for 
Lillers, whence the 1/4H1 Lincolnshire marched to Estree 
Blanche and the 1 /5th to Bourecq, where they settled down in 
billets for training. 

The ist Lincolnshire finished their period of training out of 
the line at Halloy on the 24th March, and on the 25th marched 
to Bienvillers au Bois. The weather was still bad and on the 
27th the battalion continued the advance in snow and rain. On 
marching into Adinfer the village was found practically razed to 
the ground and shelter could not be found for the troops. The 
next morning the Lincolnshire moved to Boiry St. Martin, but 
here also there was little or no shelter for the battalion, though 
by collecting timber from the ruined houses rough bivouacs were 
speedily erected. The next move was to Hamelincourt on the 
30th, where the front line was to be taken over from the 13th 
Northumberland Fusiliers. 

The line consisted of posts along the St. Leger— Boiry Becque- 
relle road and were merely temporary, for orders were received to 
push forward to a line in advance of the St. Leger-Henin-sur- 
Cojeul road. These orders were carried out during the night of 
the 30th /3 1 st of March. 

The Croisilles— Henin road was gained without opposition, 
but a patrol pushed out towards Croisilles itself, met two hostile 
patrols, the first consisting of two Germans, of whom one was 
killed and the other captured. The Lincolnshire patrol was 
then fired on by machine-guns, evidently in an entrenched posi- 
tion, and as the orders were not to attack the enemy, the patrol 
fell back. On the return journey the second German patrol was 
encountered and chased, but got away. On the 31st the Croi- 
silles-Henin road was finally cleared of the enemy. This was 
not done without some difficulty, for, though on the left the line 
of the road was gained without opposition, on the right the enemy 
sniped for a considerable time and then attempted to drive the 
Lincolnshire out by a bombing attack. This attack met with 
a certain measure of local success till it was checked chiefly owing 
to the gallantry of Lieutenant Dawe. This officer, though 
wounded in the wrist, remained for two and a half hours at the 
forward post, and by the energetic use of his Lewis gun drove 
off the Germans, who had a machine-gun with them. The ist 
Lincolnshire had two officers and fourteen other ranks wounded 
in this affair. 

On the 1 st of April the enemy shelled the new positions heavily, 
but did little damage. The work of consolidation proceeded. 
On the 2nd the 13th Northumberland Fusiliers on the right, and 

219 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the 1 2th Northumberland Fusiliers on the left in conjunction 
with divisions on right and left, attacked the enemy. The ist 
Lincolnshire, who were by now established well in advance of the 
remainder of the brigade, were ordered to assist on either flank 
by pushing out patrols to secure the second objective, which was 
only to be consolidated at night. 

The attack was successful and the Lincolnshire Lewis gunners 
had good targets as the enemy fled. Patrols on both flanks 
also co-operated with the Northumberland Fusiliers. The 
line finally held by the ist Lincolnshire before they were 
relieved on the night of the 2nd /3rd of April was a trench run- 
ning parallel with, and about six hundred yards north-east of, the 
Croisilles— Henin road. 




DAWN BEFORE ARRAS 



On relief by the 1 5th Durham Light Infantry, the 1 st Lincoln- 
shire, very tired, moved back to support positions along the rail- 
way embankment, and on the night of the 4th to Moyenneville, 
thence on the 5th to Adinfer. So far as the Lincolnshire 
Regiment was concerned, there is no more to be told of the 
German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. 

The 10th Lincolnshire spent May and June on the Arras 
front. In July the 34th Division took a section of the front east 
of Peronne, and the 10 ist Brigade held the sub-sector, which 
included Hargicourt and Villeret. 

Although several months had passed since the Germans had 
retired to the Hindenburg Line, the British. Line was still far from 



220 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [AUG ., I9I7 

complete, and when the ioth Lincolnshire went into the forward 
defences on the night of the 2 5th /26th July, the latter consisted 
mainly of posts with a main line trench in course of construction 
with strong points behind. The Germans mainly relied upon 
their trench-mortars with which to cause casualties and damage 
our defences, but a few well organized heavy shoots by way 
of retaliation very soon subdued his ardour. Patrol work was 
very active, three or four parties going out each night, but little of 
importance happened until the fourth week in August, when the 
101st Brigade as a whole attacked the enemy with the intention 
of wresting from him the high ground east of Cologne Farm (east 
of Hargicourt and Villeret) to obtain observation of the Hinden- 
burg Line and to inflict losses on him. 

The Lincolnshire were out of the line in Brigade Reserve at 
Hancourt, when orders were received to attack the enemy, and 
practice for the attack at once took place. On the 24th August 
the battalion moved from Hancourt, A and D Companies and 
Headquarters to Roisel, B Company to the Intermediate Line 
west of Hargicourt, and C Company to the front-line trenches 
(Hen and Indian Trenches) from seventy yards south of Un- 
named Farm to No. 1 1 Post, inclusive. 1 

The Brigade attacked with all four battalions in the front line, 
in the following order from right to left : 15th and 16th Royal 
Scots, ioth Lincolnshire and nth Suffolk. The 20th North- 
umberland Fusiliers were detailed as reserve, while a company 
of the 23 rd Northumberland Fusiliers was to bomb up Rifle Pit 
Trench and join hands with the Suffolk on the left of the Black 
Line. 

There were two objectives (1) the Black Line, which ran from 
the northern corner of Malakoff Trench along Sugar Pond and 
Railway Trenches ; and (2) the Red Line, from the junction of 
Malakoff Trench and Malakoff Support, southwards along the 
latter, then east of the Sugar Factory along Bait Trench and a line 
of shell holes east of Railway Trench to the railway. 

The sector to be attacked by the ioth Lincolnshire included 
New Trench, New Cut, Sugar Trench, Ruby Farm, Sugar 
Factory, Bait Trench. Their first objective was Sugar Trench, 
and the second Bait Trench and a line in front of the north- 
eastern corner of the Sugar Factory. 

A and D were to be the two front attacking companies, sup- 
ported by B and C in reserve. Zero hour was finally fixed at 
4-3o a.m., on the 26th August. On the 25th the Divisional 
artillery put down a special " Chinese " barrage with a view to 
ascertaining where the enemy was likely to put down his barrage 
when the attack began. 

1 See Map, page 214. 

221 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The forming-up operations during the night of the 2£th/26th 
were carried out in absolute silence, and between 3.30 and 4 
a.m. on the a 6th, all battalions were in position, the Germans 
evidently having no suspicion of the coming attack. At 4. 3 o a.m. 
our barrage fell on the German lines while machine-guns swept 
the lines by which hostile reinforcements could reach the enemy's 
front line. 

In perfect order the Lincolnshire advanced across No Man's 
Land, and Cologne Support and New Trench were crossed with- 
out resistance. There was no wire and the trench had been 
almost obliterated by our guns. The enemy's barrage fell 
promptly, but it was ragged and weak, causing but few casualties. 
The advance continued steadily to Sugar and Pond Trenches. 
The enemy's resistance was feeble, the majority of the garrison 
being in dug-outs : every German encountered was either killed 
or taken prisoner. Ruby Farm and Bait Communication Trench 
proved no obstacle, though the advance was made difficult owing 
to all landmarks having been blotted out by our bombardment. 
In the Sugar Factory some twenty Germans were found, all being 
killed or taken prisoner. Bait Trench and the Red Line 
generally was reached well up to time and practically without 
opposition. A temporary gap occurred between the 1 6th Royal 
Scots and the 10th Lincolnshire, whose right had pushed on 
ahead of the left of the Scotsmen. The Germans succeeded in 
penetrating this gap and bombed down Bait Trench, but were 
then caught between the two attacking battalions and all were 
accounted for. 

Parties of Lincolnshire, in their eagerness to reach the Red 
Line, overshot the objective and reached Ruby Wood, which 
they found empty. All but one party returned immediately, the 
remaining party returning after dark. 

By 6.20 a.m., all objectives had been captured. Covering 
and observing parties were then pushed out, while the work of 
consolidation began. One of these covering parties ran into a 
battery of light trench-mortars (six guns) and a crew of twenty 
Germans. They were in pits. A bombing party was immedi- 
ately organized and rushed the pits, the enemy surrendering. 

The consolidation of New, Sugar and Bait Trenches continued 
throughout the day, but in front of the Sugar Factory, any 
attempt at working was promptly stopped by the enemy. The 
night of the 2 6th /27th August was comparatively quiet. 
The 27th was normal but at about 9.30 p.m. the enemy 
attempted a counter-attack, which was immediately nipped in 
the bud. 

The 10th Lincolnshire were relieved during the night of the 
27th /28th and marched back to billets in Bernes. Their losses 
222 



THE BATTLES OF ARRAS [l9I7 

were three officers 1 and thirty-two other ranks killed, six officers 8 
and one hundred and sixty-nine other ranks wounded, and thir- 
teen other ranks missing. 

During September trench warfare was very active on the 
Somme, but, barring an attempted attack by the enemy on the 
23 rd (which was a complete failure) the 10th Lincolnshire passed 
a comparatively uneventful existence in the front line and in rest 
billets until the 28th, when the Division began to move north. 
On the 29th the battalion reached the Berles-au-Bois area, where 
they remained until the 7th of October. On the latter date the 
Lincolnshire entrained for the Ypres Salient and on arrival at 
Houpoutre marched to Proven. 

In view of the coming operations on the 9th the battalion 
entrained at Proven on the 8 th for Elverdinghe, arriving about 
midnight. They made no attack during the following day, but 
immediately after zero hour on the 9th marched to Langemarck, 
where they were engaged in road repairing. Under heavy shell- 
fire they worked all day, losing seven other ranks killed and 
eighteen wounded. 



Ill 

THE BATTLES OF ARRAS 1917 

The First Battle of the Scarpe, yth-itfh April 

The plans which Sir Douglas Haig originally framed for the 
operations in 191 7, had to be modified, under instructions from 
our Government, in order to conform to those of our Allies, and 
it was arranged that an offensive should be commenced early in 
April, on as great a scale as the extension of our front permitted, 
preparatory to a more decisive operation to be undertaken later 
by the French Armies. 3 

Haig's original plan for the preliminary operations on the 
Arras front fitted in well with what was required in the revised 
scheme. The new German lines of defence, before our attack, 
ran in a north-westerly direction through Croisilles to Tilloy- 
les-Mafflaines, two miles south-east of Arras. Thence the original 
trench systems continued northwards across the Scarpe to the 
Vimy Ridge. The defences comprised three separate trench 

1 and Lieutenants C. Branfoot, G.H. Simons and J.S. Thomas. 

2 Captain Hartshorn and 2nd Lieutenants Adshead, Wrack, Skidmore, Cairns, and 
Noall. 

3 Despatch of the z S th December, 1917, para. 5. {Note.— In December 1916 General 
Nivelle succeeded Marshal Joffre, and a new plan of campaign was adopted by the French.) 

223 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

systems, and formed a highly organized defensive belt from two 
to five miles in depth. In addition from three to six miles further 
east the system known as the Drocourt-Queant line, approached 
completion and formed a northern extension of the Hindenburg 
Line. 

The attack was planned to be carried out by a succession of 



British Line 3 d / 1 April, A.M. 
» >? » p^M. 



2 Miles 




1 



Croisifles 



short advances to correspond with the enemy's successive 
systems of defence. The general attack on the 9th April was 
launched at f.30 a.m., and by the end of the day we had gained a 
firm footing in the enemy's third line, north and south of the 
Scarpe, and made an important breach in the enemy's last fully 
completed line of defence. 

On the 9 th April the 34th Division, in which was the 10th 
224 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [APRIL , i 9 i 7 

Lincolnshire, in the ioist Brigade, held the front line, north of 
the Scarpe, east and south-east of Roclincourt ; the 37th Division, 
8th Lincolnshire, in the 63rd Brigade, was in Arras, in readiness 
to " go through " south of the Scarpe when the third objective, 
called in the attack orders, the Brown line, had been gained ; 
the 2 1st Division was south of Henin-sur-Cojeul, the 
62nd Brigade, in which was the 1st Lincolnshire, being in 
reserve. 

The part played in the battle by each of the three Lincoln- 
shire battalions will be described in turn, commencing with the 
ioth Battalion, in the 34th Division, which was first in 
action. 

The 34th Division attacked with its three brigades in line, the 
ioist Brigade on the right. The 1 6th Royal Scots and the 1 ith 
Suffolk were in the front line, with the 15th Royal Scots and the 
ioth Lincolnshire in support, and reserve respectively, to capture 
the final objective just east of the cross roads at Le Point du 
Jour. 

The ioth Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel Clark) moved at zero 
hour to the assembly trenches vacated by the 15th Royal Scots. 
Half an hour later the battalion was ordered to advance to the 
Blue line, preparatory to an assault on the Brown line. 
The advance was well carried out, and companies arrived accu- 
rately on their jumping-off positions in Wire Valley. At 12.16 
p.m., the battalion, with the 15th Royal Scots on the right, and 
the 102nd Brigade on the left, advanced to attack the Brown 
line. The leading companies reached the Joke Line (an inter- 
mediate line formed by Joke Trench) at about 12.45 p.m., with- 
out opposition and only intermittent shell-fire. Now, however, 
they came under fire from a German battery east of the Brown 
line, and some sniping from the front and left rear. The com- 
panies pushed on until the wire in front of the Jimmy Line 
(formed by Jewel and Jimmy Trenches) was reached. This 
wire was ten feet wide and uncut. The men lay down whilst 
wire-cutting parties went forward to cut lanes. There was no 
opposition except from snipers, but by the time the wire was cut 
the barrage was far ahead, and the two leading companies were 
hopelessly mixed. Lieutenant Proctor was wounded at this 
period and a few prisoners were taken. 

As soon as the companies were through the wire the advance 
was resumed without sorting them out. The line of trenches 
from the Point du Jour northwards (the Brown line) was 
captured without serious opposition, somewhere between 2 p.m. 
and 2.30 p.m. Three more officers — Lieutenant W.F. Cocks 
and 2nd Lieutenants W. Mattison and Gillander — were wounded 
during the later stages of the advance, the first and the last-named 

Q 22 5 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

(who were the two leading Company Commanders) mortally. 
The enemy made a feeble counter-attack, which was easily 
repulsed. 

Troops of the 102nd Brigade were now mixed with the 10th 
Lincolnshire, which had lost direction during the advance. As 
a result, there was some difficulty in establishing the Green 
line, but a temporary line was eventually formed some three 
hundred yards in front of the Brown line. Germans were 
reported advancing in the valley in front of the Green line, 
but no attack materialised, and the night was quiet. Through- 
out the night consolidation continued, and by dawn on the 1 oth 
a good defensive position had been established. 

There was a considerable increase in the volume of shell-fire 
throughout the day on the 1 ith April, but patrols sent forward did 




not meet hostile troops. The battalion side-stepped to the left 
during the day, the movement being completed during the night 
of the 1 ith / 1 2th. The 1 2th passed without incidents or impor- 
tance, and that night the 10th Lincolnshire were relieved by the 
nth Suffolk and moved to dug-outs in the Blue line, where 
on the night of the 13th /14th the battalion was relieved by 
troops of the Naval Division, and then marched to billets in 
Maizieres. During the operations of the 9th-i4th April the 
1 oth Lincolnshire lost two officers killed, five wounded, and one 
hundred and fifty other ranks killed, wounded or missing. About 
sixty other ranks went to hospital suffering from exposure and 
exhaustion, for the weather had been vile. 

The 8 th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel Greatwood), advancing 
through Arras with the 63rd Brigade, on the 9th April, reached 
226 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE 



[APRIL, 191 7 



assembly trenches by 11.30 a.m. The Brigade advanced at 
3.35 p.m., was established in Battery Valley by 6 p.m., and at 
7.3 5 p.m., the 8th Lincolnshire and 8th Somerset, with a section 
of machine-guns, were ordered to occupy Orange Hill (about 
two thousand yards north-west of Monchy-le-Preux). By mid- 
night the brigade line was established on the northern half of the 
hill, the Somerset on the right, Lincolnshire on the left. At 
midnight the 4th Middlesex moved up to the left of the Lincoln- 
shire. 

Throughout the 10th attempts were made by the 63 rd Brigade 
to take the German defences north-west and north of Monchy, 
the r 1 1 th Brigade attacking Monchy. Heavy rifle and machine- 
gun fire from the enclosures and network of trenches north of 




• •■•••/JocroY. British Line Aprtt&tfr 1917 
■*•>■■■ n » n April 3<$> » 

XXXX » » •» dpril 24V"> 

fmi^mm» » u >t Dec. 7th. n 



Monchy brought both attacks to a standstill. At 7.30 p.m., the 
Lincolnshire, Somerset, and Middlesex made another attempt, 
all three battalions advancing, but they were stopped almost im- 
mediately, heavy machine-gun fire sweeping the ranks of the 
advancing troops. Finally, the brigade consolidated along Lone 
Copse Valley. 1 

Monchy was taken on the nth April by the 111th Brigade, 
and the 1 5th Division. The 63rd Brigade, which was assembled 
along the bank in Lone Copse Valley— the high ground being 
under the enemy's artillery barrage — received an order at 10.30 
a.m. to advance to Infantry Hill, and Bois des Aubepines, east of 
Monchy. The order was issued in consequence of an erroneous 

1 This valley is called " Happy Valley " on the map, No. 3, which accompanies Haig's 
Despatches, edited by Colonel Boraston. Lieut.-Colonel Greatwood was severely wounded 
in this attack. 

227 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

report that the 1 5th Division had taken the line Keeling Copse- 
Pelves. The 10th York and Lancaster advanced to cover the 
movement, but when they reached the ridge were received by 
enfilade machine-gun fire from Roeux and the north-east, which 
made it clear that the 15th Division had not reached the line 
referred to above. The 4th Middlesex and 8 th Lincolnshire 
were ordered into Monchy, but again came under machine-gun 
and barrage-fire, and were hung up on the north-western outskirts 
of the village. The narrative of the Lincolnshire reads : " I dug 
in at H.36.b " (i.e. north-north-west of the Practice Trenches) 
" being in touch with the York and Lancaster on the left, and 
holding a line about four hundred yards to the south, where I was 
in touch with the Middlesex on my right." 

At 2 p.m., the Officer Commanding 8 th Lincolnshire received 
orders to support an attack, and consolidate the line Keeling 
Copse-Bois des Aubepines. The battalion made no move on 
the 1 2th, the Officer Commanding reporting that " at 8 p.m., I 
brought the battalion out without further casualties. My total 
casualties, so far as at present ascertained, are : officers, nine ; 
other ranks, two hundred and forty." 

; The 8 th Lincolnshire returned to Arras on the night of the 
1 2th, to Duisans on the 13th, and on the 14th to Beaufort. 

The 1 st Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel L.P. Evans) reached 
Boiry St. Martin (seven thousand yards west of Henin-sur- 
Cojeul) from Adinfer on the 8 th April. Their brigade, the 
62 nd, was in reserve, the 64th Brigade, supported by the 110th, 
having been detailed for the attack by the 21st Division. 

Late on the 9th April, the battalion moved to trenches and the 
sunken roads, east of Boiry Becquerelle, and was in position by 
midnight. At 3 a.m. on the 10th, the battalion moved to the 
Croisilles-Henin road and was in position there by dawn. The 
1st Lincolnshire and 10th Yorks, were now in support to the 
64th Brigade, which had carried out a gallant and successful 
attack on the Hindenburg Line south-east of Heninel. At 4 
p.m., the 62nd Brigade received orders to relieve the 64th, but 
before the relief could be carried out 'the enemy heavily counter- 
attacked, at 6 p.m., and drove the 64th from the trenches they 
were occupying. A newly-dug trench in front of the Hinden- 
burg Line was then occupied as a rallying point, and the 64th 
Brigade reformed on the slope of the hill. The 1 st Lincolnshire 
relieved the East Yorks in the new trench, the Yorkshire taking 
over a sunken road just east of Henin. Orders were received 
that night to attack the enemy's trenches from a point about half- 
way between the Cojeul and Sensee rivers to the Henin-Heninel 
road. The 62 nd Brigade was to make the attack, with the Lin- 
colnshire on the right, Yorks on the left, remaining battalions in 
228 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE 



[APRIL, 1 91 7 



support and reserve. Zero hour was to be at 6 a.m., the artillery 
barrage to commence at 5.38 a.m. 

The Lincolnshire and Yorks completed the relief of the 64th 
Brigade by 1 a.m., and sent out patrols to examine the enemy's 
•wire. Few points were found at which entry could be made, and 
the intervening wire was so thick that it was impossible to see 
through it. The enemy was alert and active. 

No easy task lay before the attacking troops. The frontage 
was about one thousand two hundred yards, necessitated by the 
few gaps in the enemy's wire. At zero on the nth the Lincoln- 
shire and Yorkshire advanced in excellent order, and with great 
steadiness, following the barrage right up to the enemy's wire. 
In daylight it looked even more formidable than it did in dark- 
ness. 




FIRST BATTIE OF THE SCARPE, I917 

The Lincolnshire found three lanes, but the Yorkshire could 
only find one, and another with the wire partly cut. Each lane 
was, however, commanded by German machine-guns, fired from 
concrete emplacements of cunning design. They were almost 
embedded in the earth, with narrow slits but a few inches from 
the ground, through which the German gunners poured a stream 
of bullets on the attackers. On the flanks, and in the narrow 
trenches situated in the densest part of the wire the enemy's 
snipers were also active. 

At first the advance met with very little rifle-fire, but as soon 
as the leading waves of the attack reached the entanglements, 
and the lanes through which they attempted to pass, the German 
machine-guns poured a murderous cross-fire into the Lincoln- 
shire and Yorkshire. Great, but useless, bravery was shown by 

229 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

these battalions in their attempts to get through. Many men 
not able to find a lane, forced their way beneath the wire, only 
to be shot down as they emerged on the opposite side. The two 
left companies of the Lincolnshire lost all their officers and the 
right company could not find an entrance. In spite of the heavy 
fire both battalions clung to their positions with splendid tenacity, 
in and outside the wire (in one instance in the sunken road on the 
enemy's side of the wire) until ordered by the Brigade Commander 
to withdraw, to enable the guns to re-bombard the wire. At 
dusk all units occupied their original positions. After dark the 
1 2th Northumberland Fusiliers relieved the Lincolnshire, and 
the 13th the Yorkshire. The relief was completed by 9.30 
p.m. It was snowing hard, and there was to be another attack 
next day. The Battalion Medical Officer (Captain C. Jacobs), 
mentioned as a most gallant man, worked hard, and all the 
wounded were brought in. 

One n.c.o. especially distinguished himself in this attack, 
Lance-Sergeant A. Walker. In a shell-hole behind the enemy's 
wire, some men of the Lewis gun section had established them- 
selves under Sergeant Walker. This gallant man made almost 
superhuman efforts to overcome the enemy's machine-gun fire. 
For six hours he fired his Lewis gun, and seven times he crossed 
the open ground in full view of the enemy for fresh supplies of 
ammunition. He was finally killed about 12.30 p.m. His 
Commanding Officer wrote : "To keep fighting a lost battle 
for six hours from an exposed position needs a determination that 
is given to few. I know of nothing finer in the war." 

On relief the Lincolnshire moved into support on the Henin- 
Croisilles road. Next morning, between 7 a.m. and 1 1 a.m., 
the enemy evacuated his positions, and the Lincolnshire moved 
into the Hindenburg Line. On the 1 3th April the Lincolnshire 
supplied carrying parties for the 1 2th Northumberland Fusiliers 
who attacked in an easterly direction along the Hindenburg Line. 
On the night of the 1 4th / 1 5th the Lincolnshire were relieved and 
marched to Boiry St. Marc, thence on the 15th to Bellacourt. 
The losses of the 1st Battalion in the first Battle of the Scarpe 
19 17 were one officer (2nd Lieutenant H.J. Marlin), sixteen 
n.c.o.s and thirty-two privates killed, six officers (Major E.W. 
Wales and 2nd Lieutenants F.L. Gooseman, F.L. Flint, E.H. 
Catton, C.C. Winckley, A.H. Bird), twenty-eight n.c.o.s and 
seventy-three privates wounded, one n.c.o. and fourteen privates 
missing— a total of seven officers and one hundred and sixty-four 
other ranks. 



230 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [ APRIL , I9 i 7 

IV 

THE BATTLES OF ARRAS I917 

The Second Battle of the Scarpe, lyd—z^th April 

For a little over a week following the first battle preparations 
continued for the next operation. The French had launched 
their main offensive on the Aisne on the 1 6th and shortly after 
that date the weather on the Arras front improved. Plans were 
made to deliver the next attack on the 21st, but high winds and 
indifferent visibility intervened and finally the operations were 
fixed to take place on the 23rd of April. On that date, at 4.45 
a.m. j we attacked on a front of about nine miles from Croisilles 
to Gavrelle, while at the same hour subsidiary operations, took 
place south-west of Lens. 

In the Second Battle of the Scarpe 19 17 the 7th and 8th 
Lincolnshire were actively engaged with the enemy, while the 
10th Battalion was in reserve. 

The 1 7th Division, in which the 7th Lincolnshire served, was 
intended to act in support of the Cavalry Corps if the attack on 
the 9th April, First Battle of the Scarpe, made a sufficient breach 
in the German line for the cavalry to push through. As this 
was not done, the 1 7th Division remained in reserve, until, on the 
1 1 th April, it moved, up into support in the Feuchy line. Feuchy 
is on the Arras-Douai railway, five thousand yards east of Arras. 
From the 1 ith-i 8 th April, when bad weather prevented general 
operations the 7th Lincolnshire held a trench system in support, 
and in addition nightly dug a forming-up trench in front of 
the line held near Lone Copse. This trench is interesting as the 
one to which all troops retired after the fruitless assaults on 
Bayonet Trench on the 2 3rd of April. It was held against heavy 
shell-fire and counter-attack. 

On the 23rd April the 17th Division attacked along the right 
bank of the Scarpe, with the 29th Division on its right, and the 
jth Division on the left of the river. The objectives of the 1 7th 
Division were Bayonet and Rifle trenches. The role of the 7th 
Lincolnshire was to gain the village of Pelves, after the leading 
battalions had won their objectives. Zero was at 4.45 a.m. The 
first assault on Bayonet Trench (which ran from some German 
practice trenches north-west of Monchy to the Scarpe) having 
failed, the 7th Lincolnshire was ordered to attack it at 7.45 a.m. 
" By some mischance a message from Divisional Headquarters 
countermanding the attack, as the artillery was just then not 
able to help came too late, just as the Lincolnshire had begun to 
move forward at 8 a.m. ' They reached the enemy's wire with 

231 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

a rush, but there the attack was held. Under a cross-fire from 
the trench in front, and the storm of machine-gun bullets from 
the other side of the Scarpe, officers and men lay down trying to 
work under or cut through the barrier of intact wire. The 
attack failed, with losses amounting to nearly two hundred of all 
ranks. On the same ground the StafFofds had already lost two 
hundred and fourteen officers and men." (From the History of 
the i yth Division — Atteridge.) 

" The battalion, after determined attempts for one and a half 
hours, retired to the forming-up trench referred to above, 
and held this until relieved at night. The battalion had been in 
the open for twenty days in frightful weather conditions — snow, ' 
rain and intense cold. In addition, biscuits and tinned beef 
alone were sent up as rations." (An officer who took fart. The 
only Company Commander to get through.) 

The battalion entrained at Arras and reached Grand Rulle- 
court on the 25th April. 

Meanwhile, the 8th Lincolnshire of the 37th Division, north 
of the Scarpe, had also been involved in heavy fighting. 

The 37th Division was to attack due east in the direction of 
Greenland Hill and the Plouvain-Gavrelle road (the Black Line), 
the 112th Brigade on the right, 63rd Brigade in the centre and 
1 1 ith Brigade on the left. 

The 8th Lincolnshire's report of the attack is as follows : 
"23-4-17. Battalion in attack. Middlesex right-front 
battalion, York and Lancaster Regt. left-front battalion, Somerset 
Light Infantry right support battalion, 8 th Lincolnshire left 
support battalion. 1 Casualties two officers killed — 2nd Lieuten- 
ants W.S. Dickinson, D.J.B. Busher. Other ranks, twenty 
killed, wounded one hundred and two, missing fourteen." 

The 63rd Brigade Headquarters Diary contains more informa- 
tion, though the narrative deals necessarily with the front attack- 
ing battalions in greater detail. 

At zero hour (4.45 a.m.), the Middlesex and York and 
Lancaster moved forward close behind the barrage, and the 
former battalion reached a point about two hundred yards east of 
the Roex-Gavrelle road, but the York and Lancaster were early 
held up, which caused the 8 th Lincolnshire to move through 
them. The latter then came tinder fire from a trench (Chili 
Trench) on the left, held by about fifty or sixty Germans. The 
left company was detached and working round from the 
north, succeeded between 10 and 11 a.m., in outflanking this 
"pocket" of the enemy, and the battalion occupied Chili 
Trench and Candia Trench adjacent to it. By now both the 

1 On the 16th of April Major D. Davies-Evans was appointed Commanding Officer 
of the 8th Lincolnshire. 

232 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [april, t 9 r 7 

York and Lancaster, and the 8 th Lincolnshire had advanced 
and established a line between Chili Trench and the Roeux- 
Gavrelle road. The 6th Bedfords then passed through and 
reached a line two hundred yards east of the inn and the cross 
roads. Although the enemy's shrapnel barrage was not very 
heavy and the ground was swept by machine-gun fire, the 8 th 




THIRD BATTLE OF THE SCARPE, I917 

Lincolnshire and York and Lancaster continued their advance 
by small parties, moving from shell-hole to shell-hole, until both 
battalions reached a line fifty yards east of the road between the 
inn and the cross roads. They then dug in. The time was 
between 2 and 3 p.m. 

When darkness fell on the 23rd, the 63rd Brigade was in line, 
approximately from the inn southwards. Battalions in the 

233 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

following order from north to south : ioth York and Lancaster, 
8 th Lincolnshire, 8 th Somerset, 4th Middlesex. Later the York 
and Lancaster were withdrawn to Chili and Candia Trenches. 

The general result of the attack of the 37th Division was that 
the Division had reached the buildings west of Roeux Station and 
had gained the line of its objective on the slope of Greenland Hill, 
but the hill itself remained in the hands of the enemy. 

The 10th Lincolnshire were in reserve at the Point du Jour 
throughout the 23rd and 24th April. They occupied the 
Lusty-Lumpy-Locust Trenches, shelled almost continuously by 
the large numbers of gas shells used by the enemy. One officer 
(2nd Lieutenant Cowen) and several men were " gassed." 



THE BATTLES OF ARRAS 19 17 

The Battle of Arleux> i%th-ityh April ; and the Third Battle of 
the Scarpe, yd-\th May 

In order to assist the French, Sir Douglas Haig agreed to 
continue his attack on the Arras front until the objectives of our 
Allies had been attained. (Despatch of the 1 $th December, 1917? 
para. 22.) The first of these operations took place on the 
28 th of April, when British and Canadian troops attacked on 
a front of about eight miles north of Monchy-le-Preux. Im- 
mediately north of the Scarpe the 34th Division had been ordered 
to attack Roeux, while the 37th Division (on the left of the 34th) 
was to assault the German positions along the PIouvain-Gavrelle 
road and Greenland Hill. The 10th Lincolnshire of the 
former division and 8 th Lincolnshire of the latter were both in 
the front line of the attack. 

The 10th Battalion, late on the night of the 24th of April, 
moved to a railway cutting in support of the 1 6th Royal Scots 
and nth Suffolk, who were holding a line facing the Chemical 
Works and acquitted themselves gallantly, though they lost 
very heavily. 

Between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on the 28th, the attacking troops 
were ready assembled in. their trenches, the Royal Scots on the 
right, whose objective was Roeux and a line east of it, the Lincoln- 
shire in the centre, with the cemetery and a portion of Clip and 
Corona Trenches as their objective, and the Suffolk, who were 
to attack and capture the Chemical Works and railway before 
passing on to. their final line. 

234 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE 



[APRIL, 1 91 7 



The assembly trenches of the Lincolnshire did not face the 
direction of advance, but at 4.15 a.m., they left their trenches 
and formed up in the open. The morning was dark, but the 
enemy probably heard the troops assembling, for he immediately 
opened fire with trench-mortars, field-guns and machine-guns. 

At zero hour (4.25 a.m.) companies advanced, but soon came 
under intense fire and casualties were heavy. The chateau, a 
house along the road to the Chemical Works, Clip Trench and 
the houses round the cemetery were full of Germans, who poured 
a destructive fire into the attacking troops, enfilading them as they 
advanced. For some time the situation was obscure and it was 




ARLEUX 



not until later that, at 5.15 a.m., the position of the attack was 
known to be as follows : about twenty yards from Clip Trench, 
Captain Newton established himself with a dozen men under 
fire from a machine-gun firing from a house at the junction of 
Corona Trench and the Chemical Works road : on the right of 
Captain Newton were a number of men in shell-holes : next 
came another small party of men with a Lewis gun under Lance- 
Corporal Riggall : on the right of the latter were more men in 
shell-holes, and finally Captain Worthington and about twenty 
men were in a half-dug trench (which they endeavoured to con- 
solidate) in front of the railway. 

At 5.30 a.m., the enemy in force left his trenches and 

235 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

surrounded the second party mentioned above. Some of these 
endeavoured to get back, but were mostly shot down, the re- 
mainder being taken prisoner. 

Gradually men collected in Corona Trench, and at the junction 
of that trench with Ceylon Trench, and with a Stokes gun con- 
siderable execution was done on the enemy holding the houses 
north of the cemetery. But several guns were put out of action 
and the gunners killed, and being unsupported on the left, 
Captain Newton withdrew his men to Ceylon Trench, where 
about forty more were collected. Touch was obtained with the 
Suffolk on the left. The Lincolnshire then manned Ceylon 
from Corona, inclusive, to the south-west. There were no other 
troops in Ceylon and touch had not been obtained with the 20th 
Northumberland Fusiliers, who were moving into Clip. The 
time was now between 7 and 8 a.m. 

A report then came that Captain Worthington reduced to 
about ten men, had had to withdraw to Care Trench. East of 
Mount Pleasant Wood also men began to dribble back. 

The enemy's infantry next appeared from dead ground near 
Roeux : the Germans advanced in six waves covered by heavy 
machine-gun fire from the chateau and artillery-fire on Mount 
Pleasant Wood, which was apparently the objective of the attack. 
Captain Worthington was killed by a shell and only a few of his 
men were able to get away. Those of the Lincolnshire who were 
in Ceylon Trench fought well and held their trench throughout 
the attack. Lance-Corporal Riggall kept his Lewis gun in 
action until the enemy were almost upon him, then, carrying his 
gun, he managed to withdraw, but the other two or three men 
remaining with him became casualties. 

As the German counter-attack developed, it was met by Lewis 
gun and rifle-fire from the 20th Northumberland Fusiliers in 
Clip and the Lincolnshire in Ceylon. This fire broke up the 
flank of the attack, but two hundred or more of the enemy entered 
Care, Mount Pleasant Wood, Colne (a partially-dug trench not 
connected with Ceylon), and about thirty pushed as far as Ceylon, 
near Colne. 

By means of converging bombing attacks, the Northumber- 
land Fusiliers and Lincolnshire succeeded in driving the enemy 
back and Lewis gun and rifle-fire forced him to retreat. About 
a dozen Germans were captured in and around the wood. 

This closed the action which, but for the staunch defence put 
up by the Lincolnshire, might have had very serious results. 

The losses sustained by the battalion were exceptionally heavy. 
The commanders of B, C and D companies (Captain F.Worthing- 
tion, 2nd Lieutenant J. Irvine Taylor and Lieutenant H.P. 
Hendin respectively) had all been killed : also Lieutenant E.D. 
236 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [april, x 9 r 7 

Dickson, 2nd Lieutenants J.E. Lavender, F.H. Lucking and H. 
Elsom. Three officers (Lieutenant W.J. Abbott and 2nd 
Lieutenants W.E. Robinson and D.A. Gough) were among the 
wounded, and 2nd Lieutenants E. de L. Roeback, J.S. Hill and 
H.J. Lodge were missing. In other ranks the killed, wounded 
and missing were estimated at four hundred and twenty, though 
many of them were known to have been evacuated wounded. 

The remainder of the 28th and 29th passed quietly except for 
bursts of shell-fire and on the 30th the battalion was relieved and 
marched back to St. Nicholas. 

The 37th Division, on the left of the 34th, tried to carry 
Greenland Hill and, but for the loss of direction in the centre, 
might have done so. All three brigades attacked in line, i.e., 
1 1 2th on the right, 63rd in the centre, and 111th on the left 
Of the 63 rd Brigade, the 8 th Somerset were to attack on the 
right and 8 th Lincolnshire on the left. The assembly trench 
for both battalions was Cobra Trench, and the first objective 
the German trench Cuthbert immediately east. Zero hour was 
4.25 a.m. 

The battalion diary of the 8th Lincolnshire contains no nar- 
rative of the operations : " Battalion in attack. Left of brigade 
front," and then the casualties. 

The advance began punctually at zero hour, but owing to the 
darkness and smoke from the barrage, which completely en- 
veloped the troops, direction was lost. Instead of attacking 
Cuthbert Trench, the troops must have turned north and north- 
east, for the trenches they attacked were Whip and Wish. Then 
happened a rather extraordinary thing : several of the attackers 
passed over and far beyond the two latter trenches, even beyond 
Why and Weak, nearly to Railway Copse. During this advance 
prisoners were taken and three or four batches were sent back, 
but were recaptured by the enemy probably about Weed 
Trench. 

Gradually those who had advanced west of Cuthbert Trench 
returned as they were unsupported, and by nightfall the brigade 
was back again in its original line. 

Four officers missing and one wounded, twenty-two other 
ranks killed, one hundred and sixty-four wounded and one 
hundred and five missing were the casualties suffered by the 
8th Lincolnshire in this attack. On the 29th, when they were 
withdrawn from the line and reached Beaufort on the 30th, they 
must have been but a mere skeleton of a battalion, for they lost 
four hundred and twenty-seven other ranks alone in two battles. 

The 1st Lincolnshire, during the Battle of Arleux, remained at 
the embankment west of Boileux St. Marc until about 7 p.m., 
on the 29th April, when they relieved the 6th Leicesters in the 

237 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

front line from the Hindenburg support line, west of (and about 
twelve hundred yards from) Fontaine les Croisilles to the cross 
roads, about one thousand yards north of that village. 

The enemy's artillery was very active on the 30th, and though 
his shells mostly passed over the Lincolnshire, a sunken road on 
the right of the battalion front received several direct hits. Five 
men were killed, and 2nd Lieutenant W.E. Bartram 1 and three 
men wounded. 

On the 2nd May operation orders were issued for an attack 
by the First and Third Armies to take place on the following day. 
The attack of the 21st Division 2 was carried out by the 64th 
and 1 10th Brigades, the 62nd Brigade supporting the former. 

On the 4th the 62nd Brigade relieved the 1 10th Brigade in all 
the defences north-east of the Hindenburg Line, the Lincolnshire 
moving into brigade reserve about one thousand yards south-east 
of Heninel. 

On the 1 ith/iath of May the 7th Lincolnshire (1 7th Division) 
were in brigade reserve in the railway cutting south-west of Le 
Point du Jour, when they were placed under the orders of the 
Commander of the 50th Brigade. On the night of the 13th/ 
14th they moved to the line north of Roeux in support of bat- 
talions of the 50th and 51st Brigades and two companies relieved 
the 1 2th Manchester on the right of the left sector, i.e., in Cuba 
and Conrad Trenches, with one company in support and one in 
reserve. 

When the Germans counter-attacked early on the morning of 
the 1 6th and retook the Chemical Works and Station buildings, 
the 7th Lincolnshire supported the counter-attacks of the 51st 
Division 3 and 5 1 st Brigade (which retook all ground lost but a small 
portion of Curly Trench) .with Lewis gun and rifle-fire. The 
enemy's losses in this attack were very heavy and it was estimated 
that at least two thousand German dead lay in front of our 
positions. 



VI 

THE ATTACKS TOWARDS LENS : 3RD JUNE-26TH AUGUST, I917 

Although these operations were of a minor character they 
cannot on that account be dismissed as unimportant in the 
History of the Lincolnshire Regiment, for both the i /4th and 

*He died the following day after an operation at the Corps Dressing Station. 
' The aist Division belonged to the Third Army. 

3 The 51st (Highland) Division relieved the 4th Division on tie night of the 17th May. 
238 



THE 4 th & 5th BATTNS. [apr.-may, i 9 i 7 

i /5th Battalions were engaged with the enemy, and were involved 
in stiff fighting. 

It was not until the third week in April that the 1 /4th and 
1 /5th returned to the forward area after a fairly long period of 
training out of the line. The 1 /5th went into the front line east 
of Cite St. Pierre, north-west of Lens, on the 19th of April ; 
they occupied the old German front and support line trenches. 
The method of holding the line in this sector was entirely new 
to these Lincolnshire battalions : trenches served only as a means 
of approach to advanced posts, which consisted mostly of houses 
recently vacated by the enemy. There was little protection in 
the way of wire or other obstacles, so that super-alertness was 
imperative. Except the garrisons in the advanced posts, the 
greater part of the battalion was kept in cellars behind the front 
line. Apart from the usual patrol work and intermittent shell- 
fire the tour was uneventful, and on the 23rd the 1 /4th took over 
the line. 

During May trench warfare was of a strenuous nature. We 
raided the enemy, the enemy raided us. Patrol encounters in 
No Man's Land were numerous. The guns of both sides were 
seldom silent by day or night. Bombing, sniping, trench- 
mortaring and machine-gunning were constant. The diaries 
have frequent items such as " Enemy shelling and trench- 
mortaring incessant," or " Enemy put down heavy barrage." 
To all of which the British guns replied with interest ! On the 
1st the 1 /4th took over part of the front line between Fosse 1 1 
de Lens and Hart's Crater. The next morning German 
" Sturmtruppen " raided a bombing post in Netley Street, and 
the battalion had sixteen casualties. Whilst visiting his ad- 
vanced post in Nero Trench, 2nd Lieutenant J, Rickey was 
killed by a sniper. On thq following morning the enemy again 
raided the battalion : at night the 1 /5th took over the line. 

The 1 /5th 1 , who relieved the 1 /4th on the 2nd of May, were 
raided on the 4th at about 3.15 a.m. About thirty Germans 
tried to rush a bombing post in Nero Trench, having previously 
bombarded the post with rifle-grenades and trench-mortar bombs. 
The post was in charge of an n.c.o. The n.c.o. was killed 
in the bombardment and another man seriously wounded. One 
of the remaining men — Private A.F. Foster — then took charge. 
Ordering the survivors of the garrison to retire, carrying the dead 
n.c.o. and wounded man with them, Foster covered the retire- 
ment and held the enemy by vigorous bombing. Having thus 
disorganised the enemy's rush and having obtained support from 

1 On the 2nd of May Lieut.-Colonel T.E. Sandall relinquished command of the 
i/$th Lincolnshire. He had commanded the battalion since 191?. Major H.G. Wilson 
assumed temporary command. 

239 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Lewis guns, the raid was repulsed with considerable loss to the 
enemy. Private Foster was awarded the D.C.M. 

On the 6th, at 3.30 a.m., A Company raided an enemy post in 
Netley Trench and inflicted casualties. On the 8th Major H.A. 
Waring, 1st Royal West Kent Regiment, took over command 
of the 1 / j"th Lincolnshire. 







/,Lievtn 



2 Miles 
j 



Scale 



ATTACKS TOWARDS LENS, 1917 

The fighting spirit of the battalion is well illustrated by a small 
incident which took place on the night of the 1 7th of May. Two 
men were sent out as a connecting patrol to visit the advanced 
posts. They were attacked with bombs by a patrol of six 
Germans. Both men were wounded, but one — Private G.P. 
Rawson — fired at once into the enemy, killing two : he then 
charged the remainder with his bayonet, forcing them to beat a 
hasty retreat. He was awarded the M.M. 

There is, in the Diary of the 1 /4th Lincolnshire, the following 
entry for the 28th of May : On May 28th the 138th Brigade 
(Lincolnshire and Leicestershire) was withdrawn from the line, 
240 



THE 4 th LINCOLNSHIRE [JUNE , . 9 i 7 

the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire, taking up billets at Bouvigny 
Boyelles. Here it was that stirring news reached them. The 
battalion was honoured by the command to take part in an 
extensive enterprise on a two thousand yards front north-west, 
west and south-west of Lens. 

The next day (29th May) training began in earnest over a 
replica of the ground over which the attack was to be launched. 
On the 6th of June the Commanding Officer announced on 
parade that the plans had been altered and instead of the pro- 
posed operations, the attack was to be a series of destructive 
raids : zero hour was 8.30 p.m. on the 8th of June. That 
evening the 1 /4th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel G.A. Yool, com- 
manding) marched out of Bouvigny and billeted in the ruins of 
Cite des Boreaux Levin. 

The story of the attack which took place is thus recorded in the 
Battalion Diary : 

" The 8th of June arrived— a perfect summer day. The 
afternoon was spent in moving up to cellars in Cite de Riaumont, 
adjoining the assembly trenches. All companies reached these 
without mishap except D Company, which lost the services 
of 2nd Lieutenant E.A. Dennis (13 Platoon) wounded by one 
of the enemy's shells, which were already finding our stationary 
zone. Time crept on towards zero. ' Sausages ' enlived the 
waiting period, as they crashed on and around the ruins which 
sheltered us. Well before 8 p.m., C, D and B Companies were 
in position in their respective assembly trenches. In some way the 
enemy seems to have known our timed movements and intentions. 
The intensity of the barrage to which the assembled troops were 
subjected was an experience no one on the spot is likely to forget 

" D Company fared worst, as, while the bombardment of their 
sector was accurate to a degree, on the flank sectors it was suffi- 
ciently ' plus ' to miss the assembled platoons. 

" At zero — 3, Captain R.D. Ellis, commanding D Company, 
and Captain Wakeley, commanding 4th Leicesters ' mopping- 
up ' company, were caught by the same shell as they came into 
position in the rear trench. Both were killed outright. 

" At 8.30 p.m. the synchronised signal to advance was given. 
C Company on the right, got away without mishap, two platoons 
south of Cutting and one under 2nd Lieutenant A.B. Hardy, 
who was wounded almost immediately, to bring covering fire 
from Cutting. D Company, in the centre, as soon as they 
' jumped off ' by serried ranks and increased intervals to lessen 
gaps, showed the effects of their experience in the assembly 
trenches. B Company, on the left, were a joy to behold as they 
went over in line. The Cutting was reached. 

" D Company, by this time reduced by half its numbers, and 

r 241 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

B Company, already caught by the enemy's guns, scaled the 
further slopes of the Cutting together and advanced to their 
objectives. Captain E.J.S. Maples, commanding B Company, 
was at this juncture struck in the forearm by an ugly piece of 
shell case, but continued the advance with his men. Owing to 
a portion of their line being oblique to the 'A' barrage and the 
Stokes mortars, which were to deal with this sector, being put 
out of action, the enemy tried to man his trenches from his dug- 
outs. C Company, with the platoon of the 5th Leicesters on 
their right, were completely held up. "When the first wave of 
D and B Companies reached the front German trench his barrage 
was already on it, and a temporary check occurred until the 
reinforcing waves came up. Owing to this check, we were 
unable to keep up with our barrage and the enemy lined his 
second trench before our arrival there. Hand-to-hand fighting 
ensued and after a further advance by D Company to the south 
and B Company to the east, the odds became overwhelming. We 
fell back first to Ahead, and then to the Cutting. 

" Meantime Sergeant E. Quinton with his platoon got further 
afield than the rest. It was during this stage of the fight that 
B Company lost 2nd Lieutenant R.T. Thomson and 2nd Lieu- 
tenant H.C. Chase, both of them died gloriously, the former as 
the result of a second wound and the latter from a shell-burst. 
Sergeant E. Quinton, B Company, and his platoon, after several 
attempts to rejoin their comrades, in which they repeatedly 
bumped up against strong parties of the enemy, finally succeeded 
in rushing an opposition post and fighting their way back to our 
line after having been in the German lines for four hours — a 
triumph of leadership on the part of Sergeant E. Quinton. The 
demolished bridge on the right flank was at once manned and, 
under 2nd Lieutenant W.F. Maskell (D Company, 14 Platoon), 
kept the enemy at respectful distance, telling work being done 
by the Lewis guns. The front of the Cutting was lined by the 
remnant of B and D Companies under Captain E.J.S. Maples, 
and was held until orders for withdrawal to assembly trenches 
were received, A Company having manned our original line of 
posts. It was not till then that Captain E.J.S. Maples withdrew 
from the fight and had his arm properly dressed, some three 
hours after he was wounded. 

" The greatest assistance had been rendered throughout by 
the 138th Machine-Gun Company under Major A. A. Ellwood, 
a 4th Lincolnshire officer, and particularly by a detachment of 
two of his guns under Lieutenant Stentiford, manned by the 4th 
Lincolnshire. The attack on the right had gone well, A Com- 
pany, 4th Leicesters, having reached their objective easily, and 
sent back twenty-seven prisoners." 
242 



THE 5th LINCOLNSHIRE [ JUNE , m7 

There are no records of casualties, other than those mentioned, 
either in the Battalion or Brigade Diaries. Throughout the 9 th 
companies reorganized, and at night the 1 /4th were relieved by 
the 1 /5th Lincolnshire, the former moving back to Lievin, in 
support. 

Although the- 1 /5th Lincolnshire, as a battalion, did not 
actually attack the enemy, numerous tasks were allotted to them, 
some of which were carried out, others cancelled owing to the 
situation : one company wired about three hundred yards in 
front of Brick Trench : a Lewis gun section during the night 
7th /8 th June took over a post in Absolom Trench, moving for- 
ward and subsequently retiring with the attackers : a party of A 
Company carried ladders under orders of the Royal Engineers. 
One platoon of A Company had an exciting adventure : this 
platoon had been ordered to carry bombs for the 1 /4th in a 
further raid, which was, however, cancelled later. The platoon 
did not receive word that the attack was not taking place and, in 
accordance with their previous orders, moved forward over No 
Man's Land, came into contact with the enemy, who was superior 
in number, had a stiff fight and suffered one casualty. 

On the 9th at 3 a.m., the battalion returned to billets about 
Red Mill, but their rest was short, for that night they relieved the 
1 /4th Lincolnshire and 1 /5th Leicesters in the Cite de Riaumont 
sector. On the 1 2th, D Company raided the enemy. A party 
of eighty-six other ranks, under Captain Collins (commanding 
company) and 2nd Lieutenant Brown, " went over " at 7 a.m. 
and entered the enemy's trenches. The latter were, however, 
practically empty and after killing or wounding several Germans 
and obtaining information of the enemy's defences, the raiders 
returned. One man was killed in the raid and two officers and 
sixteen other ranks were wounded. 

On the 15th the 1 /5th were informed they were to attack the 
enemy " as a prelude to a larger operation." The first operation 
was a daylight attack in which four companies took part. It 
was to be carried out at 2.30 p.m. on the 19th. 

During the evening of the 1 8 th the battalion moved up to the 
front line, relieving the 1 /5th Leicesters at Cite de Riaumont. 
After the relief companies carried up bombs, rockets, wire, 
rations and water, and obtained very little rest that night. The 
next morning they were equipped for the attack andmovedto 
their assembly positions. A Company (two officers, eighty-nine 
other ranks) and B Company (two officers, seventy-five other 
ranks) were to assault the enemy's trenches : C Company (one 
officer, eighty other ranks) was detailed to wire the position when 
captured, and D Company (two officers, eighty other ranks) for 
carrying duties. 

243 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

At 2.30 p.m. the barrage fell and the two assaulting companies 
advanced to the attack, in two waves. Six minutes later the 
enemy's barrage fell, but did not interfere with the advance. 
Without difficulty, the right company got into the left trench, 
where a stiff fight ensued, many Germans being killed and some 
thirty prisoners taken : others were driven towards the Cana- 
dians, who were attacking on the right. The left company was 
met by violent machine-gun and rifle-fire, and bombs were also 
flung at the attackers. A temporary check took place, but soon 
the advance was resumed and with rifle-fire and rifle-grenades the 
Germans were driven out of the trenches, this company gaining 
its objective. 




ATTACKS TOWARDS LENS 



The battalion had now won its objective and consolidation 
was at once put in hand while the position was organized to resist 
the inevitable counter-attack when it came. 
_ Both Lieutenants M. Robinson and C.R. Madden, of the 
right company, led their men with great courage and resource 
and were subsequently awarded the M.C. Lieutenant J.S. 
Nichols, commanding the left company, was dangerously wounded 
when the first check came, but Company-Sergeant-Major H. 
Brown took command, led the men forward in gallant style, and 
organized the consolidation of the objective : the M.C. was also 
awarded him for his splendid conduct in this attack. 

Many n.c.o.s and men were mentioned for their conspicuous 
bravery and devotion to duty, i.e., Sergeants A.A. Man and T.W. 
244 



ATTACK ON LENS [,uly ist, t 9 x 7 

Huddleston, Lance-Corporals W. Withers, W.V. Hewitt and G. 
Harbron, and Private F. Ashton. Four runners, Privates 
J.W.H. Bull, W. Johnson, H. Catchpole and N. Cox, were also 
commended ; they.showed great courage in carrying messages 
between Battalion Headquarters and the front line. These men 
had to pass through a heavy barrage. Privates W.R. Sylvester 
and G.H. Green did splendid work in attending to the wounded. 
The carrying and wiring companies — D and C — did their work 
well. 

Three counter-attacks were launched by the enemy, the first 
•at 4.45 p.m., the second at 7 p.m. and the last at 10 p.m. All 
were broken up by artillery, Lewis gun and rifle-fire and the 
attackers lost heavily. 

Casualties in this attack were : twelve other ranks killed, two 
officers and fifty-five other ranks wounded, four other ranks died 
of wounds and one missing. A and B Companies were relieved 
during the night of the 20th and C and D on the 21st : the 
battalion on relief moved back to Petit Sains. 

During the remainder of June neither the 1 /4th nor the 1 /5th 
again attacked the enemy, but both battalions lent assistance to 
the 1 /5th Leicesters and 1 /5th South Staffords who assaulted the 
German trenches on the 28 th. Of the 1 /4th, A Company was 
detailed to carry bombs, etc., for the Leicesters, while B, C and 
D Companies jointly supplied five parties of one officer and thirty 
men each for wiring. Of the 1 /5th, B Company carried wire 
from Quarry Dump to the foot of the Slag Heap. 1 

The several attacks made during June were all preliminary to 
the larger operations which had been planned for the ist of July. 
In this attack all three brigades of the 46th Division were to take 
part, the Canadians attacking on the right. 

The 138th Brigade was to be on the right, the two assaulting 
battalions being the 1 /4th and 1 /5th Lincolnshire, right and left 
respectively. 

The attack took place at 2.47 a.m. on the ist of July. The 
1 /4th Lincolnshire, on the extreme right of the Divisional front, 
with their right resting on the Souchez River, had to advance in 
a north-easterly direction. A and C Companies were in the 
front line, supported by B and D Companies. 

Creeping close up under our barrage, which remained station- 
ary for seven minutes, the two companies reached their objectives 

1 " Early in May local attacks had been undertaken by Canadian troops in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Souchez River, which formed the prelude to a long-sustained series of 
minor operations directed against the defence of Lens. Substantial progress was made 
in this area on the 5th and 19th of June, and five days later North Midland troops (46th 
Division) captured an important position on the slopes of a small hill south-west of Lens, 
forcing the enemy to make a considerable withdrawal on both sides of the river." 
{Despatch of the z$th December, i^if,fara. 36.) 

H5 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

with few casualties and little opposition. But on their left the 
i /5th were not as fortunate. Their objective was the Cite de 
Moulin, of which most of the houses were fortified machine-gun 
posts protected by wire. The right company of the 1 /5th, owing 
to the darkness, veered off to the right, obtaining touch with the 
1 /4th Battalion, but losing it with the left company. 

The right company of the 1 /5th had much more difficult 
country to negotiate, and having become involved in heavy 
fighting among the houses of the Cite, they were unable to get 
forward before the barrage left them behind. They fought most 
gallantly, but were gradually compelled to fall back. This un- 
covered the left of the 1 /4th Battalion, and the latter were now 
hard put to it to maintain their position. Dawn broke and in a 
little while daylight revealed the position of the Lincolnshire to 
the enemy, who very soon turned his artillery on to the outpost 
and piquet lines formed by the battalion. Gradually their 
defences were destroyed and the men were forced to withdraw, 
taking shelter in numerous shell-holes in rear. At 10 a.m. 
Captain Elliott crawled forward and established his advanced 
posts in their original positions. There they stayed through a 
bombardment which lasted, with only a few short intervals, for 
forty-eight hours. Hundreds of tons of explosives were hurled 
by the enemy at the devoted troops, clinging with great courage 
and tenacity to their precarious positions. The I /5th, their 
flanks open, had been unable to capture their objective. 

Another attack, ordered for the night of the ist/2nd of July, 
was cancelled. On the 2nd, Canadians took over the line from 
the 138th Brigade and the i/4th moved back to Houvelin and 
the 1 /5th to Bailleul les Cornailles. 

The 1 /4th do not record their casualties, though the names of 
two officers, wounded on the 2nd, i.e., 2nd Lieutenants Summer- 
dell and Baker, are given. The 1 /5th lost thirteen other ranks 
killed, three died of wounds, two officers (Captains Hett and 
Goodall), and eighteen other ranks wounded, and seventeen other 
ranks missing. The 46th Division was now temporarily with- 
drawn from the line for a period of rest and training. 

On the 22nd of July the 138th Brigade returned to the front 
line, taking over the Hulluch sector from the Hulluch cross-roads 
(north) to just west of the Bois Hugo. The 1 /5th Battalion 
went first into the line from Popen Alley to Essex Lane, but when 
they were relieved on the 28 th there was little to report of an 
uneventful tour. 



246 



PART SEVEN 

THE FLANDERS OFFENSIVE AND THE BATTLE 

OF CAMBRAI 
1917 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [mar.-june, i 9 i 7 
I 

THE FLANDERS OFFENSIVE ! THE BATTLE OF MESSINES, 1917, 
7TH-I4.TH JUNE 1 

THE maintenance of pressure on the Arras front, which 
kept the enemy constantly on the alert, enabled final pre- 
parations to be made for the opening of the Flanders 
offensive, which was to begin with the Battle of Messines. 

The actual front selected for this operation extended from a 
point opposite St. Yves to Mount Sorrel, both inclusive : in 
length, between nine and ten miles. 

The objective of the attack was a group of hills known as 
the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, which lies about midway 
between Armentieres and Ypres. Messines itself is situated on 
the southern spur of the ridge which commands a wide view of 
the valley of the Lys and enfiladed the British lines to the south. 
North-west of Messines, Wytschaete, situated at the point of the 
salient and on the highest part of the ridge, from its height of 
about two hundred and sixty feet, commands almost more com- 
pletely the town of Ypres and the whole of the old British posi- 
tions in the Ypres Salient. 

A special feature in the operations due to take place on the 
7th of June was one original in warfare — the explosion of nineteen 
deep mines at the moment of assault. No such mining feat had 
ever before been attempted. In the construction of these mines, 
eight thousand yards of gallery had been driven and over one 
million pounds of explosives used. 

Nine divisions were to take part in the actual assault, and three 
were in support among which was the i ith Division. The latter 
lay opposite Wytschaete and in rear of the 16th Division : it was 
about the centre of the attack. 

The 6th Lincolnshire of the 33rd Brigade (nth Division) 
were last mentioned as being out of the line during February 
and March. On the 28 th of the latter month the battalion 
moved to Orville, and it was not until the 12th of April that a 
move was made back to the front line, the Lincolnshire marching 
across the old Somme battlefields to Haplincourt, a ruined village 
eight miles east of Bapaume. The nth Division was^now 
attached to the 1st Anzac Corps. The battalion took over " Z " 
front line at Louveral, the defences consisting of a line of posts 
in front of the village. There was, however, no great activity 
in the line and in less than a month the 1 ith Division had been 
withdrawn and was sent up north to join the Second Army. 

1 Despatch of the 25th December, 191 7, paras. 28, et seq. 

H9 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The 6th Lincolnshire entrained at Albert on the 17th of May, 
and after a quick train journey detrained at Caestre and marched 
to Thieuschouk, where they billeted. On the 2,2nd the Division 
was informed that it was to take part in the coming operations, 
and two days later the battalion marched to a training area, about 
six miles in rear of the Wytschaete sector, 1 where several days 
were spent in practising the attack. 

The nth Division (H.R. Davies) received orders to pass 
through the 16th Division when the latter had captured its 
objective. The role of the 33rd Brigade was to pass through 
and capture a trench system three miles east of Wytschaete, when 
the latter had been taken. 

At midday on the 6th of June orders were received to attack 
the following morning. Preparations were quickly made, and 
at 11 p.m. the Lincolnshire marched to Butterfly Farm, two 
miles from the front line, there to await final orders. 

As dawn was breaking on the 7th, every hill which could pro- 
vide a standing place for staff officers and others had its group 
of spectators. 

There was a sudden rumbling of the earth, huge flames shot 
up, clouds of smoke, dust and debris, a rocking of the ground — 
as the nineteen mines " went up." Before one was able to regain 
one's normal faculties, there was another deafening crash as the 
barrage roared out from a thousand guns. The 6th Lincolnshire 
had taken up a position among the " Heavies " and were almost 
stunned by the ear-splitting din of the monsters as they roared 
and poured a hail of big shells upon the wretched Germans. 

In suspense the 6th Lincolnshire waited for the first results 
of the attack. The barrage still continued, but at about 9 a.m., 
word was received that the 16th Division had taken their first 
two objectives and were pushing on to the third. At about 1 1 
a.m., orders were received to advance to the Vierstraate Switch, 
a trench running parallel with and about a thousand yards behind 
the British line. At about midday the battalion reached its 
destination and the men had dinner, while the Commanding 
Officer, Lieut-Colonel Gater, went to Brigade Headquarters 
for further orders. Just after 1 p.m., he returned with the 
information that at 3 p.m., another barrage would fall under 
cover of which the battalion was to attack the third objective. 
But the forming-up place was two miles away on the further 
slope of the Wytschaete Ridge and the intervening ground was 
badly cut up by shell-holes broken trenches, communication 
trenches full of troops, some going up, others coming down, and 

1 The Battalion Diary of the 6th Lincolnshire is written in pencil and in the course of 
time has become practically illegible. This account is, therefore, taken from Captain 
R.H. Clay's narrative. 

250 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [ JUNE 7 th, i 9 i 7 

wounded men. The battalion, being scattered over a thousand 
yards of trench, had to be got together, and fearing to be late, 
Battalion Headquarters and D Company started off and arrived 
at the forming-up line as the barrage opened. The other com- 
panies had not yet come up, so, fearing he would lose the barrage, 
the Commanding Officer decided to push on with D Company. 



16™/ 

iixh divn/ 
divn. 

ft 




I Wytschaete j 



Kemmel • 



Messines- , 



Scale 





Line morning 7*/ 1 June— -. 
» j> Sty June*- m. 



BATTLE OF MESSINES, 1917 

The latter then shook out into artillery formation and advanced. 
Australian troops were on the right and portions of the 6th 
Border Regiment on the left, with the 7th South Staffords and 
9th Sherwood Foresters in support and reserve respectively. 

The enemy's artillery opened fire as soon as our barrage fell, 
but his barrage was weak and ill-directed and many of his guns 
were effectively smothered by our fire. 

251 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

D Company of the Lincolnshire, after passing through the 
first line of posts held by the 1 6th Division, extended into line in 
two waves. Very little opposition was encountered : the enemy 
either ran or surrendered until the objective was nearly reached. 
Here the Germans attempted a counter-attack, but, with the 
assistance of tanks, it was broken up, and by 5 p.m., the objective 
had been gained. Casualties during the attack had been extra- 
ordinarily light, D Company losing only two or three men. The 
heaviest losses were in Battalion Headquarters, 2nd Lieutenant 
F.C. Thorn and Regimental-Sergeant-Major Smith and twenty 
other ranks being wounded. 

The senior Company Commander, Captain Howis, brought 
up the remaining three companies with very few casualties. The 
appearance of these companies, comparatively fresh, and intact, 
was of enormous value in consolidating the position. As dusk 
was falling the German guns began to shell the position heavily. 
Captain Sutherland was wounded in the face and a platoon of 
C Company (with the exception of 2nd Lieutenant Read, who was 
badly wounded), holding a strong point, was wiped out entirely. 

Early next morning (8th) another counter-attack developed 
which at one time looked serious until A Company, with Lewis 
gun and rifle-fire succeeded in breaking it up. Second Lieu- 
tenant Rowlands was wounded and A Company had altogether 
about a dozen casualties. One nx.o. — Sergeant Biggadike — 
was conspicuous for his bravery ; he died very gallantly, success- 
fully maintaining his post, which the enemy attempted to rush. 

The Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Gater) was 
wounded in the face when leading D Company to the attack, but 
with great self-sacrifice, remained at duty until his battalion went 
out of the line. 

There was another counter-attack on the evening of the 9 th, 
accompanied by heavy shell-fire, during which the Battalion 
Medical Officer, Captain Frere, Royal Army Medical Corps, to 
everyone's regret, was killed, and many other casualties were 
suffered. 

On the night of the ioth/uth of June, the 6th Lincolnshire 
were relieved and moved back to camp near Kemmel. The total 
casualties of the battalion during the Battle of Messines 1 9 1 7 
were six officers and one hundred and sixty other ranks. 

The battalion remained in camp until the 18 th of June, 
engaged in salvage work, and then began to march in easy stages 
back to Ganspette. 



252 



PILCKEM RIDGE [JULY 3IST , i 9 i 7 

II 

THE FLANDERS OFFENSIVE : 
THE BATTLES OF YPRES 1917 : 3 1 ST JULY-IOTH NOVEMBER 

The Battle of Messines won for us the whole of the Messines- 
Wytschaete Ridge, and preparations were begun for the next 
stage of the Flanders offensive. The French were to attack 
north of the Ypres-Staden railway, but the main blow was to be 
delivered by the Fifth Army (Gough) on a front of about seven 
and a half miles from the Zillebeke-Zandvoorde foad to Boe- 
singhe inclusive, in a series of attacks against the German positions 
east of Ypres. The Second Army (Plumer) was to cover the 
right of the Fifth, increase the area threatened by the attack, and 
thus oblige the enemy to disperse the fire of his artillery. 

This offensive continued for three and a half months under 
the most adverse conditions of weather, and entailed almost 
superhuman exertions on the part of the troops engaged. The 
enemy did his utmost to hold his ground, and used up not less 
than seventy-eight divisions, of which eighteen were engaged a 
second or third time. Our captures in Flanders from the end 
of July amounted to twenty-four thousand and sixty-five prison- 
ers, seventy-four guns, nine hundred and forty-one machine-guns, 
and one hundred and thirty-eight trench-mortars. Our new and 
hastily-trained armies beat the enemy's best troops in conditions 
much in his favour. {Despatch of the 2$th December, 19 17, 
para. 40.) Lastly, the fighting in Flanders (see Ludendorfs 
Memoirs) had a disastrous effect on the moral of the German Army. 

The accounts, necessarily brief, of the eight separate actions, 
commencing with the Battle of Pilckem, and ending with the 
Second Battle of Paschendaele, cannot do justice to the indo- 
mitable courage and endurance of the troops which achieved 
these results. The casualties in killed, wounded and missing, 
of the eight battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment, which took 
part in one or more of the battles about to be described, totalled 
over two thousand of all ranks. 

(i) The Battle of Pilckem Ridge : 31st July-2nd August 

It was hoped that in this first attack our troops would succeed 
in establishing themselves on the crest of the high ground east 
of Ypres, and would also secure the crossings of the Steenbeek. 
For this purpose four Army Corps were placed at the disposal of 
General Sir Hubert Gough, the II., XIV., XVIIL, and XIX. 
Corps. The II. Corps (Jacob) attacked on the right of the Fifth 

*S3 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Army, south of the Ypres-Roulers railway, with three divisions, 
in order from right to left, as follows : 24th, 30th and 8th 
(Heneker), in which the 2nd Lincolnshire were serving, in the 
25th Brigade. The first stage of the attack was carried out, 
as far as the 8 th Division is concerned, by the 23 rd and 24th 
Brigades, with the 25th Brigade in support. 

The difficult country east of Ypres, where the Menin road 
crosses the crest of the Passchendaele-Wytschaete Ridge, formed 
the key of the enemy's position, and most determined opposition 
was met by the 24th, 30th and 8 th Divisions, which fought their 
way through Shrewsbury Forest and Sanctuary Wood, and cap- 
tured Stirling Castle, Hooge and Bellewaarde Ridge. The 
second objective of the 8th Division was to be taken by the 25th 
Brigade, 2nd Lincolnshire on the right, Royal Irish Rifles in the 
centre, 2nd Rifle Brigade on the left, with the 2nd Berkshire in 
support. 

The Westhoek Ridge was reported in our hands, but on making 
a preliminary reconnaissance, the Commander of the 25th 
Brigade found that the situation on the Ridge was not what had 
been anticipated. Heavy machine-gun fire was coming from 
Glen corse Wood and hostile machine-guns and snipers were firing 
from the neighbourhood of Kit and Kat and from the Westhoek 
cross-roads, while a large number of houses on the Westhoek 
road were evidently held by the enemy. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire (Lieut-Colonel R. Bastard) formed up 
at 6.50 a.m. on the 31st July and advanced in artillery formation 
under Captain G.Mc.I. Bruce ; the Commanding Officer and 
Adjutant having already started for Westhoek to meet the 
Brigadier and other Commanding Officers to reconnoitre the 
Ridge. The reconnoitring parties found the front line to be 
Jabber Trench, the left of which was very exposed to machine- 
gun fire from the immediate front. 

By 9 a.m., the 2nd Lincolnshire had arrived at the position of 
deployment. All companies, however, reported casualties from 
machine-gun fire, whilst passing through Chateau Wood and 
from shell-fire between the Wood and Westhoek. The carry- 
ing platoons were exhausted from the effects of gas-shells and 
the heavy going. 

By 9.40 a.m., the Commanding Officer, the Adjutant and two 
other officers were casualties, and command of the battalion fell 
upon 2nd Lieutenant K. Young. 1 Orders then came from the 
Brigadier to advance. With D Company on the right, A in the 
centre and C on the left, B Company acting as " moppers up," 
the Lincolnshire pushed on to the crest of the Ridge. On reach- 
ed Lieut. Young was awarded the D.S.O. for his energy and resource on this 
occasion. 

2^4 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [ JUL y 3 i ST> i 9 * 7 

ing the latter heavy machine-gun fire tore gaps in the ranks of 
the forward companies and caused heavy casualties. The fire 
came mostly from the right flank, which was exposed, as the 30th 
Division had been held up earlier in the day. To make matters 
worse, our barrage fell beyond the German machine-guns, which 
left the latter free to pour a destructive fire upon the gallant troops 




THE BATTLE OF YPRES, iqij 

of the 25th Brigade. The result was that no further advance 
was possible and the Lincolnshire began consolidating the re- 
verse slope of the Ridge with Lewis gun posts pushed forward 
to the crest. The line upon which consolidation began was just 
in front of Jabber Trench, which ran from north-west to south- 
east and about two hundred yards west of Westhoek. On the 
left C Company made a determined attempt to rush a machine- 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

gun which was causing considerable trouble but, having to move 
up a communication trench, found the latter blocked, and, after 
suffering casualties, had to abandon the attempt. Two attacks 
were also made on a house along the Westhoek road, but the 
attackers were so exposed to machine-gun fire from the right 
that both attacks failed. 

At 11.50 a.m., and again at 1.10 p.m., the Germans launched 
counter-attacks, but both were easily repulsed. At 1.30 p.m., 
German reinforcements were seen coming from the direction of 
Anzac (about one thousand five hundred yards north-east of 
Westhoek) and massing in Jabber support. The 2nd Lincoln- 
shire quickly got to work with Lewis guns and rifle-fire and 
inflicted considerable casualties on these hostile troops. At 
2.30 p.m., having first placed a heavy barrage on Bellewaarde 
Ridge, the valley west of Westhoek and on the Lincolnshire front 
line, the enemy again launched a heavy counter-attack. This 
was also beaten back with heavy losses and after the failure of 
this attempt no serious counter-attack was made. 

Consolidation now proceeded more rapidly and was completed 
after darkness had fallen. The Lewis gun posts on the crest of 
the Westhoek Ridge were converted into bombing and listening 
posts and the night passed without further incident. At 5 a.m., 
the following morning the 2nd Lincolnshire were relieved by 
the 2nd Royal Berkshire and moved to Pioneer Camp. 

The losses of the battalion were severe : 2nd Lieutenants A.J. 
Bush and G.E. Truby and thirty-nine other ranks had been killed, 
Lieutenant A.G. Bloomer and 2nd Lieutenant V.R. Sowerby 
were wounded and died later of their wounds. Lieut.-Colonel 
Bastard, Captain G.McI.S. Bruce, Lieutenant L. J. Lill, Lieu- 
tenant and Adjutant H. Ingoldby, 2nd Lieutenant F.C, Evans 
and one hundred and seventy-seven other ranks were wounded, 
and twenty-seven other ranks were missing. 

On the 2nd of August the battalion, under the command of 
Major E.F.O. Richards, marched to Dominion Camp. 

Meanwhile the Second Army, astride and south of the Ypres- 
Comines Canal, advanced (according to plan). In this attack the 
8th Lincolnshire, of the 63rd Brigade (37th Division), were 
engaged. 

The 8 th Battalion was mentioned last as being in billets in 
Beaufort on the 30th of April. The whole of May was spent 
out of the line and early in June the 37th Division began to move 
north to the Ypres area. 

The attack of the 37th Division took place in co-operation 
with an attack by the 19th Division, the 63rd Infantry Brigade 
(less two battalions) and the 37th Divisional Artillery being placed 
in the first phase under the command of the 1 9th Division. 
256 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [juL y 3 ist, I9 r 7 

At 3.50 a.m. 31st July, the attack began, D Company of the 
Lincolnshire being detailed to form the defensive flank on the 
right of the 4th Middlesex from June to July Farms. The right 
company of the Middlesex advanced and gained its objective, 
and at 4.30 a.m., two platoons of the supporting company went 
through to reconnoitre and clear Bab Farm. It was at this stage 
that the leading platoon of the 8 th Lincolnshire, then engaged in 
forming the defensive flank, was drawn into the fighting. Some 
stiff close-quarter fighting then ensued, and heavy casualties 
were inflicted on the enemy, but the attackers were hard pressed. 
Again and again they tried to send runners back for assistance, 
but they were shot down. Runners sent forward from the 
reserve company also failed to reach the attackers and the brigade 




Junefm. JulyFm, 
WamFm. 







1000 
l_ 



2000 



Sea le 



3000 Yards 
I 



ATTACK AT THE WAMBEKE 



narrative ends the account of the gallant party of Middlesex and 
Lincolnshire with the words : " This party fought it out where 
they were until they were all either killed or wounded." 

At 7.50 a.m., the main operations began. B Company of the 
Lincolnshire attacked, supported by C Company, with the line 
July Farm-Warn Farm-Wambeke River as _ their objective. 
This line was reached and touch established with the Somerset 
on the right. But no trace of the Middlesex on the left could 
be found, or of D Company. The Germans in IVtfay Farm 
offered resistance and a left defensive flank was formed by C 
Company, which also reinforced the front line. A Company 
then advanced to the shell-hole line, one platoon being attached 
to a company of the Middlesex which attacked May Farm. In 
this attack 2nd Lieutenant W.S. Hunter was killed. 

Until 8 p.m. that night, the situation remained unchanged, 
s 257 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

when the nth East Lanes attacked on the flank of the Middlesex, 
and after some fighting, maintained communication on the right 
to south of May Farm with the left of C Company of the Lincoln- 
shire. During the next twenty-four hours the situation 
remained unchanged. Several hostile counter-attacks from Bab 
Farm and Beek Wood were broken up by artillery-fire. Before 
the 63rd Brigade was relieved the following message was received 
dated the 31st July : " The Divisional Commander congratu- 
lates you heartily on your magnificent fight to-day." 

The battalion was relieved on the night of the 1st of August 
and returned to billets at Kemmel Hill, moving back to a reserve 
area between Dranoutre and Bailleul on the 2nd. 

Casualties in the operations were three officers (one already 
given) killed (2nd Lieutenants H. Lee and W.F. Wells-Cole), 
two officers (2nd Lieutenants A. Linton and H. Stone) wounded, 
and two (2nd Lieutenants N. Timpson and J.M. Cain) missing. 
In other ranks the losses were " unclassified " eighty-five, miss- 
ing eighty-five (all of D Company). 

The general results of the battle on the whole front were 
excellent ; over six thousand one hundred prisoners were taken, 
including one hundred and thirty-three officers and about twenty- 
five guns. 

(ii) The Battle of Langemarck 19 17 : i6th~i8th August 

During the afternoon of the 31st of July, while the fighting 
was in progress, rain began to fall and fell steadily all night for the 
next four days and nights. The despatch {Despatch of the i$th 
December, 191 7, para. 43) gives a deplorable picture of the 
battlefield at this period : " For several days afterwards the 
weather remained stormy and unsettled. The low-lying, clayey 
soil, torn by shells and sodden with rain, turned to a succession 
of vast muddy pools. The valleys of the choked and overflowing 
streams were speedily transformed into long stretches of bog, 
impassable except by a few well-defined tracks which became 
marks for the enemy's artillery. To leave these tracks was to 
risk death by drowning, and in the course of the subsequent 
fighting on several occasions both men and pack animals were 
lost in this way. ' In these conditions operations of any magni- 
tude became impossible." 

The above extract explains the interval of a fortnight between 
the Battles of Pilckem and Langemarck. On the 1 6th of August, 
however, the second of the great battles of Ypres 19 17 began on 
a front extending from the north-west corner of Inverness Copse 
to our junction with the French south of St. Janshoek. 

In the Battle of Langemarck 191 7 the 2nd and 6th Battalions 
of the Regiment were engaged. 
258 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [A uo. hth, i 9 i 7 

The 2nd Lincolnshire were out of the line for just over a week 
before they moved by companies to the Bellewaarde Ridge on the 
nth of August to support the 74th Brigade, but at night they 
returned to Half Way House and the following night moved 
forward again to trenches in the Bellewaarde area. 

At 10 p.m., the 2nd Lincolnshire began the relief of the nth 
Cheshire on the Westhoek Ridge. -D Company was on the 
right, B on the left, A in support and C in reserve. At 3.30 
a.m. on the 14th, the enemy put down a very heavy barrage 
along the Westhoek and Bellewaarde Ridges and an hour later 
attacked the battalion on the right of the Lincolnshire. A and 
D Companies of the Lincolnshire, owing to their right flank being 
exposed had considerable casualties. That night the enemy 
again placed a barrage on the Westhoek Ridge, causing further 
losses, but no infantry attack followed. 

For the operations due to begin at 4.45 a.m. on the 16th of 
August, the 2nd Lincolnshire were placed in Brigade Reserve. 
At zero hour B and D Companies moved forward to support the 
2nd Royal Berkshire (the right assaulting battalion), D on the 
right, B on the left in artillery formation, halting about one 
hundred and fifty yards west of the Hanebeek, where they dug in. 
Thirty men of C Company were attached as carriers to the 25th 
Trench-Mortar Battery. 

On the left of the whole attack good progress was made to- 
wards Langemarck : in the centre the enemy was more obstinate : 
on the right he developed the main strength of his resistance. At 
6.30 a.m., an order was received by the Lincolnshire to support 
the attack and D Company, with two platoons of B, crossed the 
Hanebeek and reinforced the assaulting troops. But before long, 
the brigades on both flanks being held up, a withdrawal was neces- 
sary, and the 25th Brigade withdrew to a position two hundred 
yards west of the stream. ' Under heavy pressure, a further 
withdrawal of two hundred yards was made at 10.30 a.m. 

During the early afternoon at 2.30 p.m., the enemy was 
observed massing for a counter-attack which developed later. 
A and C Companies of the Lincolnshire (with some of the 2nd 
Rifle Brigade) were moved forward to the eastern slopes of the 
Westhoek Ridge, from which position they could fire into the 
valley of the Hanebeek on the advancing enemy. There they 
remained until 1 1 p.m., when they were relieved by the 2nd 
Northamptons and withdrew to the Bellewaarde Farm area. On 
the night of the 17th the battalion relieved the 2nd Rifle Brigade 
in Brigade Reserve on the Westhoek Ridge, but was withdrawn 
again at 9 p.m.. on the 18th to Halifax Camp, near Ouderdom. 
Both the Battalion and Brigade Headquarters Diaries make 
but brief reference to the actions of the 2nd Lincolnshire during 

259 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the battle : they were in support most of the time, which prob- 
ably accounts for the brevity of the narrative. 

On the night of the 1 3th of August the strength of the bat- 
talion was about four hundred all ranks, of whom eleven officers 
and three hundred men went into action on the 16th. The 
total casualties during the operations were thirty-one other ranks 
killed, Captain L.C. Smith, 2nd Lieutenants E.T. Okell and B. 
Middleton and one hundred and four other ranks wounded, thirty- 
six other ranks missing : Captain F.R. Griffith and Lieutenant 
C.H. Joyce were also wounded, but remained at duty. 

The 6th Lincolnshire (1 ith Division) provided working parties 
for the forward area (the 33rd Brigade being in Divisional 
Reserve). 

On the 1 st of July the 6th Battalion with other units of the 
brigade was engaged in training at Northleulinghem, in the 
Fifth Army area, till the 1 5th, when reserve positions were taken 
over in the St. Jean sector, the 6th Lincolnshire being accom- 
modated in dug-outs or shelters on the eastern banks of the Yser 
Canal. Two days later the battalion took over front-line 
trenches. The opposing lines were so close together that when 
our guns were engaged in shelling the enemy's front line the 
Lincolnshire had to temporarily vacate their trenches. The 
enemy's retaliation was both systematic and heavy : he used 
large quantities of gas shells and for several nights box respirators 
had to be worn continually. Raids were carried out all along the 
line at this period and one attempted by the Lincolnshire was 
unsuccessful, as the fire of the Divisional Artillery, on the point 
selected, prevented entry. Relief came on the 24th /25th July, 
but on the night of the 2 6th /27th July the battalion was back 
again in the front line. 

It was reported on the 27th that the enemy had evacuated his 
front line ; as the correctness of this information was doubted a 
very weak patrol was sent out by the Commanding Officer 
(Lieut.-Colonel Gater) to verify it, which was met by heavy 
machine-gun and rifle-fire. Lieutenant Playle and five other 
ranks were wounded. The casualties would have been far 
heavier if the original report, based on aeroplane reconnaissance, 
had been accepted. 

On the 15th of August, the day before the battle opened, the 
6th Lincolnshire were in Siege Camp. On the 16th the 33rd 
Brigade was in Divisional Reserve, the 34th Brigade having been 
ordered to carry out the attack by the 1 ith Division against the 
Pheasant Line, north of St. Julien. During the operations B and 
D Companies of the Lincolnshire acted as carrying parties for the 
attacking battalions of the 34th Brigade, while A and C Com- 
panies furnished working parties for the Royal Engineers. 
260 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [aug. «st, r 9 i r 

During the day the battalion lost ten other ranks killed and twelve 
wounded. The following day, the attack of the 34th Brigade 
having failed, the 33rd Brigade took over the line, the Lincoln- 
shire moving into Lancashire Farm in Brigade Reserve, where 
they remained until the night of the 19th /20th. 

From the close of the Battle of Langemarck 1 9 1 7 wet weather 
■prevailed for the remainder of August, nevertheless, while pre- 
parations were being made for the next battle, attacks east and 
north-east of Ypres against important strong points in the enemy's 
line were made on the 19th, 22nd and 27th. In these attacks 
the nth Division was engaged. 

The 6th Lincolnshire, from Lancashire Farm, relieved the 
7th South StafFords in the front line on the night of the 1 9th /20th, 
after the battalion had attacked and captured a strong point called 
the Cockcroft. 

The first two days the battalion held the front line were (with 
the exception of artillery and aircraft activity) uneventful. The 
swamps which lined either bank of the Steenbeek during the early 
part of August were more or less passable, but the whole area 
round the stream was particularly difficult, being full of flooded 
shell-holes, which made attacks or advances in the normal wave 
formation impossible. Captain J.C. Foster was killed while on 
patrol on the 20th. 

On the 21st, late at night, orders stated that the following day 
the 6th Lincolnshire were to take part in an advance by the nth 
and other Divisions in order to gain and consolidate a good 
forming-up line for an attack later on the Pheasant Line, which 
took its name from Pheasant Farm, behind the German lines. 
The 6th Battalion was to attack on the right and the 6th Border 
Regiment on the left. The Lincolnshire were to advance on a 
two-company front, D on the right, B on the left. Zero hour 
was fixed at 4.45 a.m. 

The line held by the 33 rd Brigade at this period is difficult 
to describe, being snake-like. Its right was about two hundred 
yards north of Mont du Hibou, whence it ran northwards through 
the Cockcroft, then across the Lekkerboterbeek, turning in a 
slightly north-easterly direction just south of the Langemarck- 
Poelcapelle road. In front of the 6th Lincolnshire was Bulow 
Farm. The enemy's defences consisted of numerous strongly- 
held concreted emplacements dotted about irregularly. 
These concreted emplacements became known as " pill- 
boxes," 1 It was reckoned, therefore, that the normal formation 

1 Each " pill-box " could hold about a dozen men : they were loop-holed on each side 
for machine-guns and were immune from anything but a direct hit from a heavy shell. 
Many of them were hit by 18-pounders, 4.5 [and even 6] shells, which merely knocked 
off large lumps of concrete. 

26l 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

for the attack, i.e., " waves," would be quite unsuitable in 
attacking these strongholds, so artillery formation in sections 
was adopted. 

At 4.45 a.m., the attack began. B and D Companies, in 
small parties, attacked Bulow Farm, a large and strongly-held 
" pill-box " situated among a group of smaller ones. Owing 
to the death of Captain Foster, Captain D.L. Jones assumed 
command of D Company only the night before : B Company 
was under the command of Captain Sutherland. By 6.40 a.m. 
B Company was digging in on its objective. D Company had 
been held up, for the three subaltern officers and three sergeants 
had become casualties almost as soon as the advance began. 
Owing to the late hour at which orders had been received on the 
previous night it had not been possible to explain the details of 
the attack to individual men or show them the ground in daylight. 
Not knowing what to do and the battalion on the right not having 
moved, there was some hesitation. His own company having 
begun to consolidate their position, Captain Sutherland then went 
to see what had happened to D, whom he found as already ex- 
plained. Sending off to the Cockcroft for Captain Jones, he 
moved a section arid a Lewis gun from A Company (in support) 
and stationed them on the right flank- facing Vieilles Maisons, 
later bringing up one and a half platoons of A to form a defensive 
flank. On reaching his company, Captain Jones advanced and 
ordered his men to dig in on the right of B Company, but the 
ground was swampy and one post was pushed out east of Bulow 
Farm. Captain Jones then went out to visit this post, but when 
there, could not get back owing to German snipers. A little 
later a shell burst in the post, wounding Captain Jones and 
two men, and killing a corporal and two men. Whilst trying 
to get back to the dressing station, the officer was killed by a 
. sniper. 

Great credit is due to Captain Sutherland for the success of 
this attack, as not only did he make the dispositions for his own 
company at very short notice, but took command of D Company 
when the lossof officers and non-commissioned officers made the 
situation critical. Several prisoners were captured in Bulow 
Farm. Lieutenant Denny and 2nd Lieutenants W. Harrie and 
Robinson were wounded, and the casualties in other ranks were 
nineteen killed, sixty-three wounded and two missing. Through- 
out the whole period the battalion behaved splendidly in trying 
conditions'. 

Two days later the 6th Lincolnshire were relieved and moved 
back to Gournier Farm in support. On the 24th they marched 
back to the canal bank. On the 2 7th, the 3 2 nd Brigade attacked 
the Pheasant Line from the positions gained and consolidated by 
262 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [sE p T . 2 oth, I9 i 7 

the Lincolnshire. The 33rd Brigade was in reserve, but the 
battalion was not called upon and on the 27th the latter reached 
Breeke Camp, where reorganization took place. 

(iii) The Battle of the Menin Road : ioth-i$th September 

The ist Battalion was mentioned last as being in Brigade 
Reserve in the Hindenburg Line south-east of Arras. On the 
nth of May, the 33rd Division took over the line held by the 
2 1 st Division, and the Lincolnshire moved to Boisleux St. Marc, 
thence to Adinfer on the 12th. During this tour in the line 
casualties were 2nd Lieutenant L.J. Kemp wounded, four other 
ranks killed, and twenty wounded. 

From Adinfer, the battalion, on the 31st of May, marched to 
a new area west of Croisilles, relieving the 16th King's Royal 
Rifles. On the 1st of June, work began on a support trench, but 
the enemy's artillery was active and the Lincolnshire were fre- 
quently interrupted. On the 3rd his guns shelled St. Leger and 
the area occupied by the battalion, Captain A.B.O. Parish, 
Lieutenant R.L. de Brisay and 2nd Lieutenants L.A. Howe, 
H.W. Harrison and F.M. Price being wounded, the last two 
officers severely. 1 Three other ranks were killed and four 
wounded. On the 5th the Lincolnshire took over Burg Trench 
in the front line, but the tour was uneventful, and on relief the 
battalion marched back to Moyenneville, and, after several days 
in camp in that place, a period of training was spent at Bailleulval. 

Between the 30th of June, the date on which the ist Lincoln- 
shire returned to the trenches, until the r 6 th of September, when 
the 2 ist Division, having been transferred to the Second Army, 
began to move north, there is nothing to record of special inter- 
est in the life of the battalion. The ist Lincolnshire reached 
Caestre on the 1 6th of September, and Cassel on the 1 7th, whence 
they marched to Borre. 

At 7.30 a.m. on the 20th, motor lorries carried the Lincoln- 
shire to a camp near Ridge Wood, south-east of Dickebusch 
Lake. A and B Companies, arriving first, picked up tools and 
marched to Clonmel Copse, where they dug a cable trench to the 
front line, pn a length of about two thousand yards. C and D 
Companies, on arrival, began work at 5.30 p.m. The battalion 
was shelled while at work, but lost only one man killed and eight 
wounded. Between 5 and 6 a.m., on the 21st, the battalion 
was relieved and returned to Ridge Wood. Companies returned 
to their work during the evening of the 21st and were again 
relieved the next morning. On the 23rd the Lincolnshire dug 
another trench from Clapham Junction to Fitzclarence Farm. 

1 and Lieutenant F.M. Price died of his wounds on the 4th of June. 

263 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

On the 26th the battalion rejoined the 62nd Brigade in the Le 
Roukloshille area. 

The work carried out was done under shell-fire and those who 
remember Clomnel Copse, Clapham Junction and Fitzclarence 
Farm, in September 1 9 1 7 will remember the rough time working 
parties had from the enemy's shell-fire. 

(iv) The Battle of Polygon Wood : 26th September— %rd October 

The previous operations from the 2oth-25th September gave 
us the whole of the Menin Ridge, and the next battle was for the 
purpose of pushing our line still further east to a position from 
which a direct attack could be made on the ridge between 
Noordemdhoek and Broodseinde. The attack was due on the 
26th of September on a front of rather less than six miles from 
south of Tower Hamlets to north-east of St. Julien. 

The 59th Division (Romer) attacked with the 177th Brigade 
on the right and the 178th Brigade on the left, each brigade with 
two battalions in the front line, and captured a long line of strong 
posts on each side of the Wieltje— Grafenstafel road. 

In addition to the usual artillery barrage there was a machine- 
gun barrage from forty machine-guns firing on the strong points, 
Van Isackere Farm, Dochy Farm, Fokker Farm, Toronto and 
Otto Farm- 
On the night of the 2 5th /2,6th the 1 /4th and 1 /5th Lincoln- 
shire formed up on a line roughly from Zevencote to Elms 
Corner, i.e., in rear of the Leicesters. Two hours before zero 
(5.50 a.m.) the guns opened with a heavy bombardment of the 
enemy's positions. Several days of fine weather had dried up 
the ground considerably, and the bursting shells threw up clouds 
of dust, which acted as a smoke screen for the attackers. 

At zero the Leicesters attacked and gained possession of the 
first objective without much opposition. The 2 /4th Lincoln- 
shire passed through the 2 /4th Leicesters at zero plus one hun- 
dred and thirty-five minutes, the formation of the battalion being 
a line of men who moved about fifty yards in rear of the barrage, 
followed at a distance by small assaulting columns in file. A 
Company was on the right, C on the left, B in support, whilst D 
was used for carrying and mopping-up duties. The support 
company moved in artillery formation. 

The enemy showed very little fight. Some surrendered and 
came out of their concrete strongholds (" pill-boxes ") as soon 
as the first line approached. The garrisons of two " pill-boxes " 
offered resistance, but when the attacking troops moved round 
their flanks and opened fire they also gave in. Of machine-gun 
and rifle-fire and bombing, there was very little. The 2 /4th 
264 



THE 2/4TH & 2/5TH LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. 2 6th, i 9 i 7 

advanced until held up by their own barrage, under cover of 
which deep narrow trenches were dug in irregular formation. 
Patrols were then pushed out and more prisoners secured from 
a strong point south-east of Dochy Farm, where the groun4 was 
too wet to allow of trenches being dug. 

The captured ground was consolidated in depth, a few " pill- 
boxes " being used, but the latter were mostly avoided as the 
enemy would certainly shell them. At about 5.30 p.m., the 
enemy put down a heavy barrage, which fell principally on the 
support line, causing many casualties. An attempted counter- 




ypres, 19 1 7 

attack was broken up. Throughout the night of the 2 6th /27th 
shell-fire was continuous. 

On the left of the 1 /4th, the 2 /5th Lincolnshire had similarly 
captured their objective. The battalion attacked also on a two- 
company frontage, B on the right, D on the left, C in support, 
and A in reserve, with orders to provide carrying parties. 

D on the left met with practically no resistance and dug a 
strong point north of Dochy Farm, sending a platoon to assist 
B Company in capturing the Farm. B Company in attacking 
the Farm as final objective, met with machine-gun and rifle-fire, 
but worked to the flanks of the block-houses, whereupon the 
Germans surrendered, some fifty being captured. 

The battalion then consolidated a line of strong points from 
the Farm to the strong point constructed by D Company. Shell- 
holes in rear of these points were connected and deepened. The 

265 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

enemy's barrage on the old front line and assembly positions was 
heavy, but the attacking troops had passed beyond it, and did 
not suffer casualties. The heaviest losses, however, occurred on 
the final objective, on which the hostile artillery placed a heavy 
bombardment. The captured " pill-boxes " especially came in 
for rough treatment. 

" The men," records the narrative of the 2 /5th Lincolnshire, 
" behaved with the greatest gallantry throughout, and on several 
occasions had to be checked from passing through our own 
barrage to their objectives, especially during the wait behind the 
2 /5th Leicesters until zero plus one hundred minutes." The 
whole attack by the 59th Division went splendidly. 

Both the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire passed a compara- 
tively peaceful night, but on the 27th the enemy's shell-fire was 
again heavy, though only a few casualties were suffered. At 1 1 
p.m., the 2 /5th were relieved and moved back to trenches west 
of Pommern Castle. The 2 /4th, however, held the same posi- 
tion until the night of the 29th, when they were relieved by New 
Zealand troops and marched back to Red Rose Camp, Vlamer- 
tinghe, the 2 /5th moving back the same night to Derby Camp. 
Although the Lincolnshire Territorials had captured their 
objectives without encountering a great deal of opposition, the 
casualties in both battalions were heavy. The 2 /4th lost Cap- 
tain E.W. Hall and thirty-six other ranks killed : Lieut.- 
Colonel A.B. Johnson, Captains E.G. Hooper, G.D. Fox, E.G.V. 
Knox and M.J.M. Gale, Lieutenant F.R. Coulson, 2nd Lieu- 
tenants H.R. Smith, R. Scott, G.G. Hillery, E.W. Barker, and 
one hundred and forty-four other ranks were wounded and 
eighteen other ranks were missing. The losses of the 2 /5th 
were even heavier : Captains G.L. Hill and C.N. Newsum, 2nd 
Lieutenants E.J. Lowe, P. Grantham and twelve other ranks 
were killed ; 2nd Lieutenants R.H. Turner, R.C. Ingram, 
H.C.W. Charles, G.H. Gouldby, R.J. Brooke, W. Parvin, G. 
Houlden, and two hundred and two other ranks were wounded, 
and seventy-four other ranks were missing, of whom the majority, 
no doubt, were killed. The Battalion Diary states that out of 
twenty-one officers and five hundred and sixty-three other ranks 
who went into action on the 26th, only ten officers and two 
hundred and seventy-five other ranks marched out of the trenches. 
A heavy price to pay for victory. 

The 1 st Lincolnshire came into the area of the battle on the 
night of the 2nd of October. The battalion paraded in Chippewa 
Camp at 3.30 p.m., and marched via Dickebusch to a camp near 
Scottish Wood and bivouacked for the night. 

The 8th Lincolnshire moved up into support in Shrewsbury 
Forest on the 27th of September, where for four days they were 
266 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [OCT . 4 th, i 9 i 7 

under almost continuous shell-fire. On the ist of October they 
relieved the 4th Middlesex in the front line. 

The 6th Lincolnshire moved to Siege Farm on the 2nd of 
October. 

(v) The Battle of Broodseinde : 4th October 

During the evening of the 3rd of October the fine weather 
broke : a heavy gale and rain blew up from the south-west. 
Under such adverse conditions arrangements were made for the 
next battle. 

The attack took place at 6 a.m. on the 4th of October, and was 
directed against the main line of the ridge east of Zonnebeke. 
The front of the principal attack extended from the Menin road 
to the Ypres-Staden railway — a distance of about seven miles. 
Only a short advance, with the object of capturing certain strong 
points was to take place south of the Menin road. 

Two battalions of the Regiment — the ist and 8th Lincoln- 
shire — took part in the Battle of Broodseinde, the former attack- 
ing the enemy near the south-western corner of the Polygon 
Wood, the latter south of the Menin road. 

The 8 th Lincolnshire was the left attacking battalion of the 
63rd Brigade (37th Division) : the 8th Somerset was on its 
right. The brigade had been but a short while in the line, having 
relieved the 11 8th Brigade on the night of the 2 7th /28th of 
September. The position taken over was supposed to he the 
line of a road running north and south through Jute Cotts (a 
farmhouse south of Tower Hamlets), but the actual line was found 
to be about one hundred and fifty yards west of the road and in 
places even more. And even this road had been obliterated by 
shell-fire. No movementwas possible during the day and recon- 
naissance was extremely difficult. Even runners as soon as 
they left Battalion Headquarters were sniped. However, after 
offensive operations had been ordered, some sort of a recon- 
naissance was carried out and the road was then found to be the 
German outpost line, with strong points behind it. 

The Somerset and Lincolnshire formed up under the greatest 
difficulties, and at 6 a.m. attacked the enemy. But from the 
time they left their assembly positions both battalions came under 
murderous machine-gun fire. 

The only comment made by the 8 th Lincolnshire in their 
Battalion Diary is " Attack unsuccessful," while the 63rd Brigade 
narrative has the following : " On the left the 8 th Lincolnshire 
advanced and, after going about one hundred yards, came under 
fire of several' machine-guns which swept the slope. Two of 
these appeared to be between the road and Joist Trench and 

267 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

another at Berry Cotts. These guns inflicted very heavy casual- 
ties on the leading companies. The enemy, about one hundred 
strong, were occupying the trench about fifty yards east of the 
Jute Cotts road and were reinforced from Joist Trench. The 
enemy also made local counter-attacks, but it was entirely due to 
the machine-gun fire that the attack was held up here. Owing 
to the whole plateau being swept by these machine-guns and also 
by the machine-guns from the south, it was decided that the 
attack could not get over the ground and, owing to casualties, the 
original line was occupied." 

On the 5th the Lincolnshire advanced their posts north of Jute 
Cotts to within fifty yards of the German line, and on this line 
they were relieved on the 6th of October, returning to Little 
Kemmel. The Brigade Diary gives one hundred and eighty- 
four as the total casualties suffered during the operations : Cap- 
tain R.G. Cordiner, Lieutenant A.F. Forge and 2nd Lieutenants 
R.H. Westbury, W.R. Gibson and F.H.J. Robilliard were killed 
and 2nd Lieutenants E.H. Dukes and H.E.K. Neen wounded. 
North of the Menin Road the 1st Lincolnshire also had hard 
fighting. On the 2nd of October the 62nd Brigade (21st 
Division) took over the left sector of the Divisional front, i.e., 
immediately north of the Menin Road and on the eastern fringe 
of Polygon "Wood. The 1st Lincolnshire were in reserve in 
Scottish Wood. 

In the operations of the 4th of October, the 21st Division 
attacked with the 64th Brigade on the right and 62 nd Brigade 
on the left. Of the latter, the 3 /4th Queen's, then holding the 
front line, were to carry the first objective : the 12th Northum- 
berland Fusiliers, on the right, and the 10th Yorkshire on the 
left, were to capture the second objective : the 1st Lincolnshire 
in reserve, were to act according to circumstances, and the Com- 
manding Officer said : " This meant the selection of an initial 
position somewhere near the eastern edge of Polygon Wood, 
which was unlikely to be a pleasant spot." 

At 9.30 p.m., on the 3rd the Lincolnshire moved in single file 
up to the Polygon Wood, by the duck-board track via north of 
Sanctuary Wood to Clapham Junction, thence Fitzclarence Farm 
to Black Watch Corner, and on to the position selected. The total 
distance covered by the battalion from the embankment at 
Zillebeke Lake to the assembly position in Polygon Wood was 
approximately four miles. It took two and a half hours to cover 
that distance, the battalion being assembled at 12 midnight. 
2nd Lieutenant W.K. Saunderson and J.R. Lish, with two 
representatives per company had moved up previously to tape 
out assembly positions, the former officer being wounded while 
so doing. 

268 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [oct. 4 th, i 9 i 7 

The i st Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment, dug in on its 
position as reserve battalion in Polygon Wood at 12 midnight 
of the 3rd /4th of October. At 5 a.m., one hour before zero, 
Lieut.-Colonel L.P. Evans, D.S.O., returned from reconnoitring 
the assembly position and ordered the battalion to advance as 
left battalion for the second objective. 

The battalion passed the 12th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers 
and assembled immediately north of them, D Company on the 
left front, C Company on the right front, B Company and A 
Company covering them off respectively. Each company was 
in close formation of platoons with six yards between com- 
panies. The battalion was actually in this position at zero — five 
minutes. The assembly was carried out undisturbed by enemy 
shelling. 

At zero the battalion moved forward in mass. A few casual- 
ties occurred very soon afterwards from machine-gun fire and 
" shorts " from our own barrage. On reaching the first strong 
point, Colonel Evans, noting gaps in the front line, ordered C and 
D Companies to push through and catch up the barrage : A and 
B Companies followed by platoons to the first objective, which 
was captured by the 3 /4th Queen's, assisted by C and D Com- 
panies at about 6.40 a.m. C and D Companies halted on the 
western edge of the barrage, which had stopped one hundred 
yards from the objective, and reorganized there. A and B Com- 
panies 1 reorganized in Judge Trench. Here we were in touch 
with the 1 2th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers on the south and 
troops of the 91st Brigade to the north. Before the attack re- 
commenced, Colonel Evans moved A Company up between C 
and D Companies as pre-arranged, B Company remaining in 
reserve. 

Soon after zero, about the German front line, a few of our 
shells fell amongst the two leading companies, apparently one 
1 8-pounder was firing short. One shell wounded two officers 
and six men. Two hundred yards further, a " pill-box " 
at J.io.d.j 1 ^ (about three hundred yards north-east of Joist 
Farm and just in front of Juniper Trench) was _ encount- 
ered : the leading waves passed without encountering resis- 
tance. A machine-gun opened fire from this place, inflicting 
casualties. 

At this stage Lieut.-Colonel Evans, assisted by an officer of 
the Machine-Gun Corps and several men of the Lincolnshire 
Regiment, advancing from two directions, silenced the machine- 
gun, reached the " pill-box," and forced the garrison to surrender. 
For this act, and for his leadership and cool bravery throughout 

1 Companies were commanded at this period as' follows : A— Captain Neilson ; B— 
Captain Newbury ; C— Lieutenant Young ; D— Captain Edwards. 

269 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the day, when, though twice wounded, he still led his battalion, 
Lieut.-Colonel Evans was awarded the V.C. 1 

By this time there were six officers with the battalion besides 
the Commanding Officer. Other ranks, however, had not 
suffered very heavily. 

After a halt of one hour and forty minutes, the attack recom- 
menced and went smoothly to the final objective : although fairly 
heavy casualties were caused by a machine-gun and snipers from 
the vicinity of Judge Copse, one platoon of B Company (reserve) 
being sent up to reinforce the right flank of the attack. Further 
casualties occurred during the consolidation, chiefly from snipers. 

During the remainder of the day the enemy's shell-fire was 
heavy. After dark touch was established with the 12th /13th 
Northumberland Fusiliers on the south and with the 9 1 st Brigade 
on the north : communication between the various posts in the 
front line was also established. At this time, as far as could be 
ascertained there were but four officers and one hundred and 
sixty other ranks with the battalion. 

No counter-attacks were launched against the battalion, and 
from daylight on the 5th to 10 a.m., all was comparatively quiet. 
From the latter hour, however, the support company and posts 
adjoining the 1 2th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers were shelled 
intermittently, though few casualties resulted. 

At 2 a.m. on the 6th of October, the 1st Lincolnshire were 
relieved by two companies of the 6th Leicestershire Regiment 
and marched back to Zillebeke. 

The battalion narrative concludes with the following para- 
graph : " Throughout the operations very inclement weather 
was experienced, but the hardships were endured by all ranks 
with cheerfulness and as results show, it was plainly the deter- 
mination of every officer and man in the battalion to uphold the 
reputation of the 1st Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment for 
consistent good work, and the staunchness and dogged courage 
displayed by all ranks in this battle has never been surpassed in 
the whole campaign. The battalion went into action five 

1 From the London Gazette, 26th November, 1917 : 

V.C. For most conspicuous bravery and leadership. 

Lieut.-Colonel Evans took his battalion in perfect order through a terrific enemy 
barrage, personally formed up all units, and led them to the assault. While a strong 
machine-gun emplacement was causing casualties, and the troops were working round 
the Bank, Lieut.-Colonel Evans rushed at it himself, and by firing his revolver through 
the loophole forced the garrison to capitulate. After capturing the first objective he was 
severely wounded in the shoulder, but refused to be bandaged, and re-formed the troops, 
pointed out all future objectives, and again led his battalion forward. Again badly 
wounded, he nevertheless continued to command, until the second objective was won, and 
after consolidation collapsed from loss of blood. As there were numerous casualties, he 
refused assistance, and by his own efforts ultimately reached the Dressing Station. 

His example of cool bravery stimulated in all ranks the highest valour and determin- 
ation to win. 

27O 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [0 ct. 9 th, i 9 i 7 

hundred and seventy strong, with twenty-two officers. The 
following officers were killed : 2nd Lieutenants J.C. Adamson, 
E.J. Gayer, J.N.M. Losh, J.R. Lish and A. Brown. Officers 
wounded : Lieut.-Colonel L.P. Evans, D.S.O., Major W.H. 
Gush, M.C., Captain E.V. Edwards, Lieutenant M. Church- 
house, 2nd Lieutenants G.H. Hull, F.H. Young, W.K. Sander- 
son, A.J. Skevington, E.J. Garland, W.B. Marsh and T.W. 
Catton : 2nd Lieutenant and Adjutant S. Vergette was missing 
and 2nd Lieutenant S.W. McCIay wounded and missing." 1 

Major H.W. Gush, who, previous to the wounding of the 
Commanding Officer, had been in charge of the nucleus party 
at Murrumbidgee Camp, proceeded on the night of the 4th of 
October to take command of the battalion, but was severely 
wounded on the way to Battalion Headquarters. The senior 
officer of those present was Captain T.G. Newbury, who took 
command until the battalion moved back out of the line, when 
he was succeeded by Captain Hon. W.H. Littleton, who had 
been with the nucleus party during the time the battalion was in 
action. Only six officers now remained with the battalion. In 
other ranks the losses were twenty-four killed, one hundred and 
sixty-seven wounded, thirty-six missing — two hundred and 
twenty-seven in all. 

During the operations of the 4th of October the 6th Lincoln- 
shire (1 ith Division) were in Divisional Reserve on the Canal 
bank. 

(vi) The Battle of Poelcapelle : 9th October 

The bad weather which persisted during the operations of the 
4th of October continued, but at 5.20 a.m., on the 9th the attack 
was renewed on a front of over six miles, from east of Zonnebeke 
to the junction of the British and French Armies north-west of 
Langemarck. In this battle the 6th, 7th and 10th Battalions 
were in the area engaged on various duties. 

The 1 ith Division fought its way forward in the face of great 
opposition to the eastern outskirts of Poelcapelle village ; the 
6th Lincolnshire of the 33rd Brigade on the 9th of October 
moved up in support of the 32nd Brigade, which had suffered 
heavy casualties. The 6th was not, however, called upon to 
attack the enemy and, after two days in shell-holes under heavy 
fire, they were withdrawn on the night of the ioth/i ith to Irish 
Farm. 

The 7th Lincolnshire arrived from the Arras front at Pesel- 
hoek, near Poperinghe, on the 4th October. On the 9th the 
battalion entrained for Elverdinghe, and marched from that place 

1 Died of -wounds, 4th October, 1917. 

271 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

to Roussel Farm, and on the night of the 9th/ioth relieved a 
battalion of the Worcesters at Namour Crossing, after a very- 
long and trying march. 

The battalion spent the summer months, May to September, 
Oppy, Gavrelle, Greenland Hill sectors, periods in the front line 
trenches, alternating with periods of rest and training. That 
part of the line was comparatively quiet. A raid by a party of 
Germans of an estimated strength of three officers and one 
hundred and fifty other ranks was attempted on the 8 th August, 
and repulsed, but the battalion suffered heavily from the bom- 
bardment, losing ten other ranks killed, twenty-six wounded, 
and two missing. 1 

(vii) The First Battle of Passchendaele : 1 1th October 

Although the weather was unsettled and the ground was be- 
coming more boggy and thick in mud, progress was not yet 
impossible, and a renewal of the attack was ordered to take place 
at 5.25 a.m., on the 12th of October. The front of attack 
selected lay between the Ypres-Roulers railway and Houthulst 
Forest. 

The particular section of the line of interest to the Lincoln- 
shire Regiment was that astride the Ypres-Staden railway (south 
of Houthulst Forest), where the 7th Battalion, in conjunction 
with the 10th Sherwood Foresters on their right and the 8 th 
South Staffords on the left, attacked along the southern embank- 
ment of the railway as far as Turenne Crossing. 

On the night of the ioth/nth of October, the 7th Battalion 
took over the front line astride the railway and just south of the 
Poelcapelle road. Battalion Headquarters were in Pascal Farm. 
The line at this period chiefly consisted of improved shell- 
holes. Throughout the nth the enemy's artillery was very 
active. 

Duringthe night of the 1 ith/i2th the two companies of 7th 
Lincolnshire north of the railway line were relieved by the 8th 
South Staffords, and at zero hour on the 1 2th the Lincolnshire 
were assembled on a line from south of the railway to the road 
junction below Tranquille House. C Company (2nd Lieutenant 
Wotherspoon) was on the right, B (2nd Lieutenant Tilbury) on 
the left : A and B Companies (under Captains P.H. McCarroll 
and G.N. Tredinnick respectively) were in support. C and B 
Companies were to capture the first objective (a north and south 

1 Officer casualties from the 17th May to the 4th October were : 2nd Lieutenant CD. 
Knott (wounded 31/5/17), and Lieutenant H.Y. Maulkinson (died of wounds 4/6/17)7 
Captain W.F. Thomas (wounded 9/7/17), Captain E.W. Milford (wounded 31/8/17)7 
2nd Lieutenant J. Wallis (wounded 1/9/17). 

272 



THE 7-th LINCOLNSHIRE [OC t. I2TH> I9X7 

line about Taube Farm), and A and D Companies the second 
objective — Turenne Crossing. Major Peddie and Captain J. 
King had taped the " jumping-off " lines during the night. 

At 5.25 a.m., the barrage fell, and eight minutes later the 
attacking companies advanced. At 6.50 a.m. the first objective 
was reported taken, though casualties "were fairly heavy. Captain 
Tredinnick was wounded and command of his company was 
taken over by 2nd Lieutenant Harrison. The records state that 
the men advanced behind the barrage with perfect confidence in 
the screen of fire in front of them. At 7 a.m., Major Peddie 
moved his headquarters up to Taube Farm, the attack having 
gone forward to the second objective, which was reported cap- 
tured at 8 a.m. The Lincolnshire began to consolidate their 
position, being in touch on both flanks. 

A curious incident happened at Taube Farm on the arrival of 
Major Peddie and Battalion Headquarters at 7.25 a.m. Al- 
though the attack had passed on, the farm was found to be still 
occupied by a large party of Germans, numbering about one 
hundred, with whom were nine officers. The whole lot sur- 
rendered to Major Peddie, Captain King and two orderlies. A 
heavy machine-gun and trench-mortar were also captured. From 
another " pill-box " sixty more prisoners were taken later in the 
morning. 

The remainder of the day was spent in digging-in, though 
the Lincolnshire were much worried by shell-fire and the 
activities of snipers. 

On the 13th several half-hearted counter-attacks were made, 
the special point being the Turenne Crossing, but they were all 
repulsed. 

During the night of the 13th /14th the 7th Lincolnshire were 
relieved, and at 5 a.m. on the 14th concentrated on the canal bank 
near Boesinghe : they were taken back to Roussel Farm in 
lorries. 

Their losses in the attack had been considerable : 2nd 
Lieutenant J.B. Harpe and twenty-eight other ranks were killed, 
2nd Lieutenant L.E. Dennis-Marklew had died of wounds ; 
Captains G.H. Tredinnick and R.H. McCarroll, 2nd Lieutenants 
C.R. Davey, A.H. Scattergood, C.A. Warner, H.R. Robin, 
W.H. Singleton, F.W. Nichols and one hundred and seventy 
other ranks were wounded and forty-three other ranks were 
missing. 



After the first Battle of Passchendaele, it was evident that the 
condition of the ground would not enable us to capture the re- 
mainder of the Passchendaele Ridge in 1917. 

t 273 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Two small operations took place on the 27th of October in 
which the 10th Lincolnshire took part. 

The 10th Battalion 1 , after the operations of the 9 th of October, 
continued working on the roads at Langemarck throughout the 
10th and 1 ith, but after the latter date remained from the 12th 
to the 15th billeted in Elverdinghe. Several moves took place 
before, on the 22nd, the Lincolnshire moved up and relieved the 
15th Royal Scots in the front line at night, Battalion Head- 
quarters being established at Olga Houses. 

B and D Companies of the Lincolnshire pushed forward 
with an advanced guard, and formed a line of resistance in shell- 
holes from Gravel Farm to the Brombeek, both places inclusive. 
Touch with the 1 ith Suffolk on the left was not gained until the 
night of the 23rd of October. On the latter night Lieutenant 
Hatch, with a few men, captured two Germans who were en- 
deavouring to find their way back to their own lines. - The whole 
area was in such a shocking condition and it was so difficult to 
find the way from Battalion Headquarters to the front line at 
night that Captain Emmerson and 2nd Lieutenant Nicholls were 
sent to tape a path between Headquarters and the forward 
trenches. 

On the 24th the battalion was relieved and moved back to 
Huddlestone Camp, where the Divisional Commander addressed 
the 101st Brigade. In this address he said : " Great credit is 
also due to the 10th Lincolnshire Regiment in taking over the 
line without a hitch on the night of the 22nd/23rd October, 
without guides and under a harassing fire." 

(viii) The Second Battle of Passchendaele : 26th October- 
10th November 

The 1st Lincolnshire from the 6 th of October until the close 
of the Battles of Ypres 1917 (10th November) had a most un- 
enviable time. If they were not in the front line in the Polygon 
Wood area they were furnishing large working parties for digging 
purposes. In camp there were air raids to worry them. On 
the 26th they moved up to the front line, which was then about 
one thousand five hundred yards east of the Butte in Polygon 
Wood, the trenches being knee-deep in water. Here they spent 
five days of misery, and when they came out of the line they had 
lost nine other ranks killed, thirty-two wounded, and fifty-nine 
evacuated sick to hospital, mostly suffering from " trench feet." 
Several days were then spent in Railway Dug-outs, Zillebeke, 
before, on the 15 th. at 4.15 p.m., the battalion again moved up 
into the front line. This relief was a costly affair. Lieutenant 

1 The battalion arrived at Langemarck on the 9th October from the Somme. 
274 



THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI [NO v. zoth-dec. 7 th, i9 i 7 

R.L. de Brisay (commanding A Company) was wounded, also 
2nd Lieutenant and Assistant Adjutant L.C. Williams, who 
died on the 9th. Five other ranks were killed, seventeen wounded 
and two were missing. These casualties were from the enemy's 
shell-fire. On the 10th rain again fell heavily and the trenches 
were once more knee-deep in mud and water. 

The 7th Lincolnshire were in the line in the Brombeek area, 
having relieved troops of the 35th Division in the left sub-sector 
on the night of the 2 7th /a 8th, but they were relieved on the 
night of the 2 9th /30th and moved back to the Proven area, 
where they were located on the 10th of November. 1 



Ill 

THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI I917 ! 2 
20TH NOVEMBER— 7TH DECEMBER 

The object of the Battle of Cambrai was to gain a local success 
at a point where the enemy did not expect it. The general plan 
of attack was to dispense with artillery preparation, and depend 
instead on tanks to break through the enemy's wire. At 6.20 
a.m. on the 20th November, tanks and infantry attacked on a front 
of about six miles from east of Gonnelieu to the Canal du Nord 
opposite Hermies. The main system of the Hindenburg Line 
was over-run, and the Hindenburg Reserve Line attacked. On 
the evening of the 2 1st November, it was decided to continue the 
attack in order to gain possession of the Bourlon Ridge, which 
commanded our positions north of Flesquieres. The struggle 
for Bourlon took several days of fierce fighting ; at the end of 
five days we held a strong position on Bourlon Hill, and in the 
Wood, but had not succeeded in gaining all the ground needed 
for the security of this feature. 

During the last days of November, various indications pointed 
to the probability of the enemy making strenuous efforts to regain 
the ground he had lost, and measures were taken to meet them. 
Severe fighting commenced on the 30th November, and con- 
tinued during the first week in December. 

The particular portion of the line of interest to the Lincolnshire 
Regiment was the sector at Cantaing, north-east of Flesquieres, 

1 A note on page r27 of Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches, edited by Lieut.-Colonel 
Boraston, O.B.E., contains a reference to the speech by Major-General Sir John Davidson 
in the House of Commons, which explains the reasons for the continuation of the Ypres 
offensive. 

2 Despatch of the zotk February, 1918. 

275 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE -REGIMENT 

held by the 59th Division, of which the 2 /4th and 2 /5th (of the 
177th Brigade) formed part. 

After the Battle of Polygon Wood (26th September-3rd 
October) the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire were withdrawn from 
the Ypres Salient, and a few days later moved south with other 
units of the brigade and 59th Division. On the 1 3th of October 
the 177th Brigade relieved Canadian troops in the Avion sector, 




TANKS 



the 2 /5th going into the front line and the 2 /4th remaining in 
Brigade Reserve in Zouave Valley. During the remainder of 
October, however, little of importance occurred. Trench war- 
fare was normal. The 2 /4th lost one officer — 2nd Lieutenant 
"W.H. Owston — who, wounded on the 21st of October, died of 
wounds on the 24th. 

On the night of the 13th /14th November, Canadian troops 
relieved the 177th Brigade, all four battalions of the latter moving 
to the Chateau la Haie area, where training in open warfare began. 
On the 17th the brigade moved to Hauteville, on the 19th to 
Bailleulmont, on the 21st to Achiet-le-Petit, thence on the 23rd 
to Dessart W.ood, 1 in the Cambrai area. 

The 59th Division was then in Corps Reserve, but on the 
27th the 2 /5th Lincolnshire marched to Trescault, where they 
were accommodated in tents and bivouacs at the northern end of 
Havrincourt Wood, the 2 /4th marching on the 28 th to Fles- 

1 and Lieutenant Revill, of the 2/4th was " gassed " on 4th November, 19 17. 
276 



THE 2/5TH LINCOLNSHIRE [NO v. 2 9 th, r 9 x 7 

quieres, where during the day they were joined by the 2 /5th 
Battalion. 

_ The 2 /5th took over a portion of the old Hindenburg Support 
Line south-west of Flesquieres. Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on 
the 29th, the enemy's artillery fired several shells into their 
trenches, obtaining a direct hit on a shelter inside which were a 
number of officers, one of whom was killed 1 and seven wounded. 8 




THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI 

Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the 30th of November, the 
storm broke ; the enemy, after a short but intense artillery pre- 
paration, attacked the right of our line on a front of some ten 
miles from Vendhuille to Masnieres. The swiftness with which 
the enemy's infantry followed his bombardment overwhelmed 
our troops, both in front and support lines before they realised 
that the attack had begun. From the southern bank of the 
Scheldt Canal southwards as far as west of Vendhuille the British 

1 Captain C.O.R. Jacobs (3rd Devons, attached a/jth Lincolnshire Regiment). 

2 Captain T.A. Richardson, 2nd Lieutenants F.C. Stewart (4th Norfolk, attached 
z/5th Lincolnshire), S. Plowman, K.A.S. Fowler, L. Mason, L.W.H. Hawkins and M.A. 
Norton. Most of these wounds were, fortunately, slight. 

277 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

line was over-run and the enemy penetrated as far as Gouzeau- 
court and La Vacquerie, where he was held. 

Meanwhile, at 9 a.m., he launched his main attack against the 
Bourlon position from Fontaine-Notre Dame to Tadpole Copse. 
On this front the Germans endeavoured to break through our line 
by sheer weight of numbers .; in one place no less than eleven 
waves of German infantry advanced successively to the assault. 
The enemy's losses were enormous. 

Neither the 2. /4th nor the 2 /5th Lincolnshire made any move 
on the 30th November, but both battalions throughout the day 
were hard at work digging trenches round Flesquieres and placing 
that place generally in a state of defence in case of a break through 
by the enemy. On the 1st of December, work of the trenches 
was continued. On the 2nd, however, both battalions moved to 
the forward trenches : the 2 /5th Battalion took over the front 
line from the 2 /5th North StafFords. This line ran from the 
south-eastern corner of Bourlon "Wood, just east of the Quarry, 
thence in a south-easterly direction for about one thousand yards : 
it consisted of a series of posts, there being no continuous trench. 
The 2 /4th also moved forward, but in support, two companies 
being located in the old German line north-east of Anneux and 
two in the sunken road running from Graincourt. 

By the 3rd of December, the Germans were held : they had 
lost so heavily, and their attempts to break through on both 
flanks had been a failure, so that no further attempts were made, 
though here and there along the line local actions took place. 

During the evening of this date, the 1 /4th Lincolnshire re- 
lieved the 2 /4th Leicesters in the front line in Bourlon Wood : 
they were now on the left of the 2 /5 th Lincolnshire. The latter 
did not change their dispositions during the 3rd. The gas 
shelling was very bad, the valley was full of gas, and Bourlon 
Wood a death-trap. 

The British line, north of Flesquieres now formed a dangerous 
salient, and Sir Douglas Haig decided to withdraw to a more 
compact line on the Flesquieres Ridge. The evacuation of 
Bourlon Wood and the rest of the salient was ordered to begin 
during the night of the 4th /5th of December. The new British 
line corresponded roughly with the old Hindenburg Reserve 
Line. 

The two battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment describe 
their part in the withdrawal as follows : " In order to reduce the 
salient of which our line forms a part," states the Diary of the 
2 /5th, that battalion being on the right, " a withdrawal was car- 
ried out to the Flesquieres Line. Pack ponies and limbers were 
brought up, and ammunition and stores were removed before the 
withdrawal commenced. The withdrawal was made from the 
278 



THE 2/ 4 th LINCOLNSHIRE [DBC . S th, i 9 i 7 

left by platoons : one platoon remained behind in the centre 
company's frontage to cover the withdrawal. The first company 
commenced the withdrawal about 9.45 p.m. and it continued in 
good order. Platoons moved independently across country to 
Flesquieres and took up their allotted positions in the Flesquieres 
Line. The enemy remained totally unaware of this withdrawal. 
There was no fire from his artillery beyond the ordinary routine 
firing of the night. The withdrawal was concluded in good 
order without casualties and dispositions taken up at Flesquieres." 
The 2 /5th then held a line in trenches north and north-west of 
Flesquieres, two companies being in the front line and two in 
support in the old Hindenburg Support Line, south of the 
village. 

The 2 /4th (on the left of the 2 /5th) record that " Captain 
K. Howes took charge of the operations in the Wood. All 
regimental stores, etc., were collected and sent down under cover 
of darkness. The evacuation was carried out with precision. 
One platoon of B Company, under the command of 2nd Lieu- 
tenant Pepper, acted as rearguard and remained in the Wood 
until 3.30 a.m. on morning of the 5th. After evacuation A and 
B Companies attempted to dig in along the sunken road (L.l.d., 
i.e., east of Graincourt). Major H.G. Deane took command of 
these companies. C and D Companies occupied trenches in the 
Hindenburg Support Line at K.24.a.3.4. (south of Flesquieres)." 

The two companies of the 2 /4th Lincolnshire and the 2 /4th 
Sherwood Foresters acted as rearguard of the brigade until, on 
the 6th the enemy, having by this date discovered the withdrawal, 
began to advance all along the line evacuated. The rearguard then 
withdrew to the old Hindenburg Support Line. 

The digging-in east of Graincourt was practically impossible, 
as the ground was frozen solid for about a foot or more. No 
orders were received to evacuate the forward position, owing to 
the difficulty of communication, until hand-to-hand fighting could 
not be avoided. The small numbers in the outpost position 
showed excellent spirit in a very trying situation, in spite of 
casualties. Both Major Deane's batman and his runner were hit. 

By the 7th of December, the withdrawal along the whole front 
was complete, the enemy contenting himself by advancing and 
digging small posts in front of our new line, behind which he 
began a new line of trenches where old existing trenches could 
not be converted to his use. Thus, so far as the Lincolnshire 
Regiment was concerned, ended the Battle of Cambrai 1917. 



279 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



PART EIGHT 
THE GERMAN OFFENSIVE OF 191 8 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 

J 



* 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [nov-dec, i 9 i 7 

I 

THE WINTER OF I917— 1918 TO THE EVE OF THE GERMAN OFFENSIVE 
OF THE 2 IST MARCH, I918 

(i) *9*7 

THE ist Lincolnshire came out of the line east of 
Zillebeke on the 12 th November, and after a period out 
of the line entrained at Maroeuil on the 30th for Peronne, 
whence it moved to front-line trenches west of Villers-Guislain, 
which it held from the 9th to the 1 7th December, losing thirty- 
four other ranks killed, wounded or missing. It spent Christmas 
at Longavesnes, and returned to the trenches on the 29th. On 
the last day of 1 9 1 7 Lieut.-Colonel E. W. Wales was in command, 
and the strength of the battalion was forty-one officers (twenty 
with the battalion) and six hundred and sixty other ranks. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire, after its heavy losses in the Battle of 
Langemarck on the 1 6th August — it came out of the line with 
a total strength of less than three hundred — moved by bus to 
Borre (near Hazebrouck) on the 19th, and there, on the 22nd, 
Lieut.-Colonel N.M.S. Irwin, Essex Regiment, joined and took 
command. The battalion did not return to the Ypres Salient 
till the middle of November, spending September, October and 
part of November either in the trenches about Basseville, or 
Warneton (north of Armentieres), or in support, or divisional 
reserve, in the neighbourhood. 

On the 17 th November the battalion relieved the Royal 
Canadian Regiment in the front line on the right of the brigade 
sector near Passchendaele. The enemy's guns shelled the sector 
unmercifully throughout the day, using large quantities of gas 
shells, and when night fell the battalion had lost four other ranks 
killed, 2nd Lieutenant Atkinson and thirteen other ranks 
wounded, and Captain Clifton and twenty-eight other ranks 
" gassed." The 1 8th saw no diminution in the enemy's shell-fire 
two other ranks were killed, two officers — Lieutenants Lilley- 
white and Carr — and twenty-two other ranks were wounded, and 
twelve other ranks " gassed." At about 8 a.m., about one hun- 
dred of the enemy attempted to leave their trenches, with the 
intention of attacking, but were repulsed, by Lewis gun and 
rifle-fire. 

The Lincolnshire were relieved on the 19th November, but 
before they got clear of the trenches three more other ranks 
were killed and nine wounded. The battalion entrained at 
Wieltje and reached Red Rose Camp, Vlamertinghe, after this 
short, but costly, tour. 

283 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

On the 2nd of December the 2nd Lincolnshire attacked the 
enemy. They had returned to Machine-Gun Camp, St. Jean, 
on the 29th tff November, in Divisional Support, but on the 
following day marched to California Camp, Wieltje, where they 
were in Brigade Reserve. On the ist, C Company paraded at 
about 3.15 p.m., and set out for the trenches near Passchendaele 
to relieve a company of the ist Royal Irish Rifles. The only 
way to the front line was along a duck-board track, which had 
been recently registered by the enemy's guns. To step off the 
track was to become engulfed in deep clinging mud, and across 
country the " going " was impossible. C Company had, there- 
fore, to endure the shelling as best it could, with the result that 
about twenty all told reached the front line and took over the two 
left posts on the battalion front. An hour later the three remain- 
ing companies had been detailed as assaulting troops in the 
attack : some idea of the terrible nature of moving up at that 
period may be gathered from the fact that it took the first com- 
pany five hours to arrive at the head of the duck-board track. 
The first company was in its assembly position by 10 p.m. the 
last company by 12.20 a.m. 

The three companies advanced to the attack at 1.55 a.m. (2nd 
of December). They at once came under heavy machine-gun 
fire, having been spotted by the enemy. The advance continued, 
although every officer of the three assaulting companies was a 
casualty before their own outpost line was reached. Finally the 
advance stopped about thirty yards from the enemy's main trench 
and the survivors of the three companies dug in. Here they 
were relieved by two companies of the 8 th Rifle Brigade, and 
moved back to camp at St. Jean. 

In this attack casualties were heavy. Captain A. Cowe, Royal 
Army Medical Corps (the Battalion Medical Officer), Lieutenant 
R.H. Parker, and sixteen other ranks were killed, 2nd Lieutenants 
B.W. Griffin (died of wounds 2nd December, 1917), Eliot, 
Sowerby, Joyce, Groom, Green, Graves, Grant and Perkins, and 
sixty-four other ranks were wounded and twenty-five other ranks 
missing. 

From St. Jean the battalion moved by train to Wizerne on the 
3rd December, and thence to Boisdinghem, west of St. Omer, 
where three weeks were spent, Christmas festivities being held 
on the 23 rd. Towards the close of the month, the Lincolnshire 
moved back again to the front line near Passchendaele. 

The 1 /4th (Lieut-Colonel G.A. Yool) and 1 /5th (Lieut.- 
Colonel H.A. Waring) Lincolnshire, spent five months, August 
to December inclusive, in the trenches south-east of Bethune, 
between Loos and the La Bassee Canal, relieving each other. 
Six days in and six days out of the trenches was approximately 
284 



THE i /4th & i /5th LINCOLNSHIRE [nov.-dec, i 9 i 7 

the rule at this period. There is an entry in the Diary of the 
i /4th relieved on the night of the 3rd /4th August, in the 
Hulluch-Loos sector that, as the battalion " had been working 
and fighting six days and nights in water nearly up to . one's 
knees, ambulances were in readiness at Mazingarbe to convey 
anyone unable to walk." The St. Elie sector was taken over 
from the 1 /£th on the night of the 2 2nd /23rd ; here there was 
such an extensive tunnel system that it was possible to go round 
most of the sub-sectors without using the trenches. 

The two battalions occupied in succession, after the St. Elie 
sector, Hill 70, north of Lens, about the middle of November, 
and in December, Cambrin, south of the La Bassee Canal, near 
Guinchy. The 1 /4th spent Christmas out of the line at Anne- 
quin, but the 1 /5th were in the trenches, and the day was sad- 
dened by the death of 2nd Lieutenant R.G.B. Harvey, who was 
killed by the premature explosion of a rifle-grenade. The 
battalion kept Christmas Day on the 28th. 

On the 7th September, 2nd Lieutenant Phyphers of the 1 /4th 
(having done good work on patrol two nights earlier), led a party 
in a silent raid on the enemy, killing several. Six other ranks 
were wounded, but were brought in safely. Lance-Corporal 
Featherstone won the M.M. in this fight, which took placeon 
the parapet. 2nd Lieutenant RJ. Fish, " a most promising 
young officer," was shot by an enemy sentry whilst leading a 
patrol to investigate the enemy's wire entanglements, when 
actually in the wire, on the night of the 2 8th /29th September. _ 

On the 8th September, B and C Companies carried out a raid 
on the enemy's trenches, south of St. Elie, where they cut the 
Vermelles-Hulluch road. Captain S.C.W. Disney was in com- 
mand of the raiding party, 2nd Lieutenants G.H. Quantrill, 
R.C.B. Harvey, B.G. English and H.E. Hawkeswood command- 
ing the right-front, right-rear, left-front and left-rear parties 
respectively. One hundred other ranks " went over " with 
great dash, and entered the enemy's trenches, but found he had 
evacuated his two front lines, probably warned by the prelimin- 
ary bombardment. Captain Disney was reported to have con- 
ducted the raid with considerable ability, and Company-Sergeant- 
Major A.C. Needham, Sergeant H. Lewis, Corporal J. Austin, 
and Private C. Weckles were mentioned for conspicuous gal- 
lantry. Two other ranks killed, sixteen wounded, and three 
missing were the casualties. 

A gallant exploit was carried out by 2nd Lieutenant Simpson 
and Private J.T. Tilley, of D Company, 1 /5th. At 3.30 p.m., 
the 1st November, they crawled out of the trenches, over a crater, 
to a post in the enemy's front line, known to be occupied at night. 
They removed the bombs in it and returned to their own line. 

285 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

About 4.30 p.m., they went out again accompanied by Lance- 
Corporal J. Dixon and took up a position close to the post, 2nd 
Lieutenant Simpson reconnoitring to make sure their visit had 
not been detected. About 5.45 p.m., six Germans entered the 
post. Private Tilley opened fire, 2nd Lieutenant Simpson 
charged in, firing his revolver, followed by Lance-Corporal 
Dixon and Private Tilley. Three Germans were killed, the 
other fled, one being wounded. Our party returned with valu- 
able identifications. 2nd Lieutenant Simpson was awarded the 
M.C., and Lance-Corporal Dixon and Private Tilley the D.C.M. 
for their gallantry. 

Sergeant J. Mountain was awarded the M.M. for bringing 
in the dead body of a German from No Man's Land on the 2nd 
November, under heavy machine-gun fire, and obtaining an 
identification of great importance. On the nth December the 
enemy used gas projectors, firing them in four groups of one 
hundred each, and Lieutenant Stevens and eight other ranks 
were gassed, two of whom died. Corporal W. Vassey and 
Privates W. Allen and W. Robinson were awarded the M.M. 
They had behaved with great gallantry during the bombardment, 
and also repulsed a raid on a post. 

On the night of the 1 3th December Private H. Goss (attached 
138th Trench-Mortar Battery) behaved with great gallantry and 
presence of mind. He was firing a Stokes mortar, when he 
noticed that the lever of one of the Stokes bombs had been 
knocked off, causing the fuze to burn, which would explode the 
bomb in twelve seconds. He placed it in the mortar intending 
to fire it, but the cartridge misfired, and the bomb remained in 
the mortar with the fuze still burning. Goss quickly raised the 
base of the mortar, caught the bomb as it slid from the muzzle 
and threw it out of the emplacement, when it exploded. Goss 
was awarded the D.C.M. and later the Croix de Guerre. His 
prompt action undoubtedly saved several lives, as well as pre- 
serving the emplacement and the mortar, both of which would 
have been wrecked. 

Of the 2 /4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire from the 7th to the 3 1st 
of December there is little to be said, with the exception that both 
battalions when in the front line in the Flesquieres salient were 
continually hard at work consolidating and organizing the new 
defences. The enemy was similarly engaged, and shell-fire and 
machine-gunning was almost the chief form of activity by the 
opposing sides. 

The 2 /4th moved to Rocquigny on the 23rd of December, 
and on Christmas Day moved to Bapaume, where they entrained 
for Tinques, marching, on arrival at the latter place, to billets 
in Maizieres. Christmas was celebrated on the 30th. 
286 



THE 6th & 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [nov.-dec, i 9i7 

The 2 /5th record the enemy's guns active on the 22nd, when 
2nd Lieutenant H.W, Wright and six other ranks were wounded. 
On coming out of the line on the 22nd/23rd they also moved to 
Rocquigny, Bapaume and Tinques, but on arrival at the latter 
village they marched to billets in Ambrines. 

From the dreary waste of water-logged country and shell-holes 
near Pheasant Farm, north-east of Ypres, the 6th Lincolnshire, 
having moved out of the line on the ioth/i ith of October, en- 
trained at Irish Farm for Watten. Thence motor buses carried 
the battalion to Nortieulinghem. The Lincolnshire had cleaned, 
up and were settling down to a good training programme, 
when orders were received to move south to trenches in the Lens 
area. The battalion entrained at Watten on the 1 9th and arrived 
the same day at Lillers, marching thence to Ecquedecques. On 
the 22nd the 6th Lincolnshire took over front-line trenches in 
the Auguste sector (east of Loos). The trenches were in a bad 
state, but by constant and careful work were gradually improved. 
On the 1st of November, Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Gater, who had 
been appointed to command the 62nd Infantry Brigade, re- 
linquished command to the great regret of all ranks of the 
battalion. He was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel G.T. Bruce 
(Glamorganshire Yeomanry). The 33rd Brigade was relieved 
on the 22nd December, and the 6th Lincolnshire went to 
Vaudricourt. 

The 7th Lincolnshire, having reached Proven on the 8 th of 
November, spent five days in ca'mp and then moved, first by rail 
to Soult Camp, Elverdinghe, in Divisional Reserve. The 
enemy's aircraft were busy dropping bombs and there were 
casualties in the battalion, amongst whom was 2nd Lieutenant 
F.T. Pritchard, who was killed on the 15th. Another move 
took place on the 19th, when the Lincolnshire marched to 
Huddleston Camp, near St. Julien : they were now in Brigade 
Reserve. Front-line trenches from Turenne Crossing to Gravel 
Farm were taken over on the 2 2nd /23rd, but the tour lasted only 
four days, and on the 2 5th /26th, having been relieved^ the 
battalion marched to Boesinghe and entrained for International 
Corner (Dragon Camp). 

The 1 7th Division was, however, ear-marked for the Somme, 
and on the 13th December the 7th Lincolnshire (then at Nor- 
tieulinghem) marched to Wizernes (near St. Omer), and en- 
trained for Bapaume, whence they moved to Barastre. Their 
first tour in support trenches was north of Havrincourt Wood, 
where they occupied the old British front line near Trescault. 
On Christmas Day they relieved the South Staffords in the 
front line— then the old Hindenburg Support Line, which had 
been adapted to form front-line trenches. The enemy's shell- 

287 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

fire was desultory, but on the 28 th the battalion had several 
casualties, 2nd Lieutenant T.M. Sharpe and nine other ranks 
being wounded and three other ranks killed. On the 30th they 
were relieved, and moved back to billets at Bertincourt in Divi- 
sional Reserve, The Germans must have been busy shelling the 
back areas with gas shells, for the final entry in the Battalion 
Diary for December is as follows : " Major T.A. Peddie, 
Captain H. Sargent, Captain W.H. Parsons, Major W.H. 
Godby wounded at duty (gassed), and two other ranks." 

In the rest camp at Kemmel the 8 th Lincolnshire rested and 
trained for four days before going into the front line on the 10th 
October in the Tower Hamlets sector. On this date Lieut- 
Colonel D. Davies-Evans handed over command of the battalion 
to Major the Hon. R.T. St. John and proceeded to England. 

The records of the 8 th Battalion until the end of the year 
contain no incidents of importance. Much work was done out 
of the front line by large working parties. In the line things 
were generally quiet. This battalion also spent Christmas 
Day in the front line. On Boxing Day the enemy shelled the 
back areas heavily with gas shells, but no damage was done to 
the front line. On the 29th December the Lincolnshire were 
relieved and moved back to Tournai Camp. 

The 10th Lincolnshire, after being relieved from the Korte- 
beek Line on the 24th October, marched to Huddleston Camp, 
where they spent the night. The following morning they en- 
trained for Proven, where three days were spent in cleaning 
up. Like the 7th Lincolnshire, the 10th Battalion was ear- 
marked for a move to the Somme, and entrained at Peselhoek on 
the 28th October. 

On the 1st of November, the 10th Lincolnshire moved to 
Boisleux St. Marc for a short period of training before going 
into the front line east of Cherisy, where the line was com- 
paratively quiet. 

Casualties during the month were four other ranks killed, 
fifty-two wounded and six missing. 

On the 9th of December considerable increase in hostile 
movement in the enemy's rear areas, combined with the report 
that many more German batteries were observed, caused special 
precautions to be taken against a surprise attack, all four com- 
panies of the 10th Lincolnshire being placed in the front system. 
No attack on the 34th Division materialised, but on the 12th the 
Division on the right was attacked. 

On the 22nd of December Christmas was celebrated in Brigade 
Reserve in Durham Lines. On the 27th the brigade again took 
over the front-line trenches, on this occasion in the Fontaine 
sector, and the 10th Battalion was billeted in the neighbourhood 
288 



A CHANGE IN ORGANIZATION [ FEB ., I9I g 

of Croisilles ; the last day of the year saw them in the trenches 
again, which, owing to the hard frost, were now in very good 
condition. 

Thus ended the year 19 17 — a year during which the British 
Army bore upon its shoulders the lion's share of the heavy 
fighting in France and Flanders. 



II 

THE EVE OF THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE 

The second half of the winter of 19 17-19 18, i.e., from the 
1st of January to the third week of March was not unlike the 
first — miserable weather conditions, making life in the trenches 
a hard existence. The previous year had ended with the British 
Armies in France and Flanders greatly exhausted and the flow 
of reinforcements had almost ceased : the French Army had 
also lost heavily and was only recovering with difficulty. Russia 
had collapsed and, being in a state of revolution, gave no assis- 
tance to the Allied cause ; America, with tens of thousands of 
men in training, could not place her Army in the field for several 
months. On the other hand, the German Armies on the Western 
Front, reinforced by numerous divisions drawn from the east, 
were in a stronger position than ever and signs were not wanting 
that the enemy would soon launch a great offensive. 

The 1st Lincolnshire records the coming of the New Year in 
the following words : " The first day of 191 8 found the bat- 
talion holding part of the British front opposite the village of 
Villers-Guislain and north of the village of Epehy. The fighting 
strength of the battalion on this date was seventeen officers and 
three hundred and ninety-nine other ranks. The weather con- 
tinued to be extremely severe but dry." 

Lieut-Colonel L.P. Evans, V.C., left the battalion to take 
over command of the 1st Battalion Black Watch (his own 
Regiment) on the 13th, all ranks being extremely sorry to lose 
him. He had, as the records state, "left an imperishable 
memory behind him." On the 24th Lieut.-Colonel B.D. Fisher 
(the 17th Lancers) assumed command of the battalion, Major 
E.W. Wales taking over the duties of second-in-command. 

In February a great change took place in the organization of 
the British Army. Under orders from the Army Council, Divi- 
sions were reduced from thirteen to ten battalions, each infantry 
brigade being formed of three battalions, the tenth battalion 
becoming divisional pioneers. Some battalions were disbanded 

v 289 



HISTORY "OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

altogether or reduced to training cadres and several divisions 
disappeared from the active list. 

The 62nd Brigade (21st Division) was re-formed on the 3rd 
of February, and from that date consisted of the 1st and 2nd 
Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment and the 3rd /4th Queen's 
(Royal West Surrey) Regiment. The 1st Battalion was then at 
Moislains, the 2nd Battalion arriving at the same place at 5 a.m. 
on the 4th. During the war there were very few instances of 
1st and 2nd Battalions of a regiment serving in the same brigade, 
and the Lincolnshire were delighted at the change. 

The official despatches record the difficulties which these 
changes entailed : new methods in the tactical handling of 
troops had to be introduced, and to accustom subordinate com- 
manders to these changed conditions was difficult, owing to the 
large amount of work which had become increasingly necessary 
on the defensive works. The expectation of a great hostile 
attack made the construction of new lines of defence behind the 
front-line system essential, and men could not be spared to go 
through the necessary training when out of the line. 

The diaries of all units, therefore — certainly of those on the 
Somme in the early part of 1918-T-contain many references to 
the supplying of large working parties. In particular, the 
diaries of the 1st Lincolnshire for February 1 convey the im- 
pression that, though some training was carried out, work on 
the defences occupied at least half the time when out of the front 
line. The last day of the month found the 1st Lincolnshire 
moving into the forward trenches again in their old sector near 
Epehy. 

The first entry in the diary of the 1st Lincolnshire for March 
brings to the fore at once the dramatic happenings of that month : 
"Owing to the Diary and records from March 1st to 21st 
having been captured by the enemy, a general review between 
these dates is given." 

The final entry in the diary before the great attack is described 
as " from information received from higher authority, an attack 
was considered imminent, the most probable date being the 
20th or 21st." 

The 2nd Lincolnshire commenced the New Year in muddy, 
water-logged trenches near Passchendaele. On the night of 
the 1 8th /19th the battalion marched to Wieltje and entrained 
for Abeele, moving thence by motor buses to Watou, where, 
on the 29th January the 2nd Lincolnshire was ordered to join 
the 21st Division and their arrival is reported in the 62nd 
Brigade Diary on the 4th of February. The battalion then went 

1 Only one officer casualty is recorded for the month : Captain B.C. Dawe was found 
dead on the rifle range on the 14th. It was presumed he met his death by accident. 
29O 



THE i/ 4 th LINCOLNSHIRE [jan. * 9 th, 1918 

into billets at Haut Allaines. On the 28th the brigade relieved 
the 117th Brigade in the Chapel Hill-Vaucellette Farm sector, 
the 2nd Lincolnshire being in support. 

The battalion, after joining its new Division, occupied the 
left sub-sector of the brigade area ; A Company taking over 
Chapel Trench and Fives Trench, C Company Racket Trench, 
Skittle Alley and Birchwood Loop, with B and D Companies in 
support ; little happened until the night of the 1 8th /19th, when 
the battalion raided the enemy. 1 

A party of two officers and sixty other ranks, under 2nd 
Lieutenant F.C. Harper, carried out the raid against a strong 
point in Beet Trench held by the enemy. The raid was a great 
success, at least twenty-three Germans being killed and five taken 
prisoner and brought back, from whom most important identifica- 
tions were obtained. The raiders had one officer and six other 
ranks wounded and one man missing. 

The officer commanding the raid — 2nd Lieutenant Harper — 
was awarded the M.C., Corporal G. Barker the D.C.M., and 
Corporal S. Vickers, Lance-Corporal A. Osborne and Privates 
T. Hardy, J. Deeks, W. Towers and F. Leary the M.M. 

The 1 /4th Lincolnshire held their Christmas Dinner in 
Beuvry on the 3rd of January : they relieved the 1 /5th in the 
front line on the 7th south of the La Bassee Canal. The trenches 
held were in bad condition, but fortunately the tour was com- 
paratively short. 

_At Busnes, on the 24th January, the battalion was acquainted 
with the drastic reorganization of the Army. " In each 
brigade," records the Diary, " one battalion is to be disbanded, 
and no outsider can appreciate the gloom that is cast over the 
battalion when we hear that we are to make the sacrifice." 

The 1 /4th was to be divided as follows : Battalion Head- 
quarters, twelve officers and two hundred other ranks to the 
2 /4th Battalion, and twelve officers and two hundred and fifty 
other ranks to the 2 /5th Battalion. Most of the officers of the 
1 /4th had joined the battalion since the war, but there were still 
numbers of warrant officers and men who had served in no other 
battalion and could look back on years of camp training in pre- 
war days. It was a sad business. 

The actual breaking up began on the 29th, when the party 
detailed to join the 2 /5th Lincolnshire, then at Ambrines, left 
Busnes. The Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel G.A. Yool), 
Adjutant, Quartermaster and nine other officers with two hundred 
other ranks joined the 2 /4th Lincolnshire, with whom they were 
to amalgamate and form the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. 

1 Lieut-Colonel N.M.S. Irwin relinquished command of the battalion on the 21st 
of February and Lieut.-Colonel E.P. Lloyd assumed command. 

29I 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The Commanding Officer of the i /5th (Lieut.-Colonel H.A. 
Watkins) called for a voluntary parade to give the 1 /4th a send- 
off, which every available man attended. " The spirit which 
prompted this voluntary parade to see us off was very_ much 
appreciated, demonstrating as it did the splendid feeling of 
kinship which" has always existed between us and our sister 
battalion, a feeling which the two colonels had always done their 
best to foster." {Battalion Diary 1 \\th Lincolnshire ', January 
1918.) 

Thus the 1 /4th Lincolnshire left the 46th Division. 

The 1 /5th began the year in the Cambrin sector, and on the 
20th of March the battalion was at Sailly La Bourse, 1 in 
support. 

The 2 /5th Lincolnshire were out of the line at Maizieres, 
engaged in training, when they were informed of the impending 
change. On the 30th Lieut.-Colonel Yool, with other officers 
of the 1 /4th Battalion arrived. On the 31st the reorganization 
began, the Diary stating that " the battalion from the date of the 
amalgamation will be called the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire 
Regiment." Lieut.-Colonel T.H.S. Swanton, who had pre- 
viously commanded the 2 /4th, became second-in-command of the 
new 4th Battalion. 

On the 9 th of February the battalion left Maizieres for Barly, 
then via Hendecourt and Boiry to Hamelincourt. 

The 59th Division relieved the 40th in the front line on the 
13th, the 177th Brigade taking over the Bullecourt sector, the 
4th Lincolnshire going into camp at Mory 1'Abbaye. 

The front-line trenches were immediately east of Bullecourt 
and overlooked Riencourt. On the 2nd of March the battalion 
was ordered to raid two hostile posts and obtain an identification. 
A raiding party of forty other ranks, with Captain H. Ward, 
who was to train them, and 2nd Lieutenant H.R. Greenwood to 
lead, then proceeded to Mory Camp to prepare. 

The operation took place on the night of the 5th /6th. The 
raiders entered the German posts, but the time taken to explode 
Bangalore torpedoes beneath the enemy's wire warned the latter 
and the posts were found empty. 

Two other attempts by Lieutenant J.R. Neave and six scouts 
on the 13 th and 14th to enter the hostile posts were similarly 
unsuccessful in obtaining an identification. During the second 
attempt Private W.H. Evans's brave conduct won for him the 
M.M. 

The Diary of the 4th Battalion for March contains many 
references to the prevailing feeling that the enemy was preparing 
for a great offensive. A German deserter, taken on the 10th, 

1 Three and a half miles south-east of Bethune. 
29a 



LINCOLNSHIRE MOVEMENTS [jan.-mar., i 9I 8 

reported that a great attack was to take place on the 13th, but 
nothing materialised. 

On the 20th the 4th Battalion was in Mory Camp and " stood 
to " during the morning " in view of the expected enemy 

For the whole of January the 2 /5th were out of the line in 
training at Ambrines. On the 29th their Diary records the 
arrival of two hundred and sixty other ranks and twelve officers 
from the 1 /4th Lincolnshire. The battalion was now very 
strong, and at the conclusion of their seven weeks' training, which 
ended on the 9th February, was well equipped with men in good 
condition and a good proportion of Lewis guns, bombers, rifle- 
grenadiers, etc. 

On the 9th February the battalion marched to Gouy-en-Artois 
and billeted for the night. The march was continued during 
the 10th, nth and 12th, the Lincolnshire reaching Bullecourt 
on the latter date. They then relieved the 20th Middlesex in 
the front line. The guns of both sides were continually active, 
but the enemy's infantry was extraordinarily inactive and rarely 
showed themselves. 

On the 20th of February there is a statement that the Germans 
were using gas shells. This is the earliest mention of a new kind 
of insidious gas which the enemy used before his offensive with 
the idea of thinning out our line. In some parts of the line, gas 
casualties were extremely heavy and the righting strength of 
divisions was greatly affected. 

The 2 /5th were with the 4th in Divisional Reserve in Mory 
on the eve of the German offensive. 

In Vaudricourt the 6th Lincolnshire continued their training 
until the 24th of January, when the 33rd Brigade took over the 
Hulluch sector and the battalion moved into support trenches. 
Trench warfare was normal, though here also the enemy used 
the new gas, the action of which is thus described : " No imme- 
diate effects observed, but after forty-eight hours men developed 
lachrymation of the eyes and slight bronchitis." In one com- 
pany alone there were sixty-one casualties. The 6th Battalion 
was in billets on the 20th of March. 

The 7th Lincolnshire (51st Brigade, 17th Division) from the 
ist of January to the third week in March held front-line trenches 
on the northern flank of the Flesquieres salient, where, subse- 
quently, the heaviest attacks fell ; the 7th Lincolnshire being 
then in Hermies, holding the defences of that place. 

Three tours in the front-line trenches (i^th-^oth February, 
25th February~ist March, and 9th-i3th March), all in the same 
sector, Tower Hamlets-Dumbarton Lakes, sum up the activities 
of the 8th Lincolnshire (63rd Brigade, 37th Division) in trench 

293 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

warfare from the 1st of January to the 20th of March. Casual- 
ties were small. On the 20th of March the battalion was in 
support in Canada Tunnels. 

In the second week in March references to the impending 
attack first appear in the diary of the 1 oth Lincolnshire : " Corps 
summaries lead one to suppose that the long-advertised German 
offensive may take place any day." On the 17th and 18th the 
tension became marked. The battalion was then holding the 
front line north-east of Croisilles. These two days were spent 
in anticipation and in improving the defences. The prevailing 
opinion of the 10th Lincolnshire was : " hold very strong 
tactical position and all feel confident. Hun cannot penetrate 
defences on our immediate front." The battalion was relieved 
on the 1 9th, and went into reserve trenches near Boiry-Becque- 
relle. 

On the 1 8th or 19th two Germans belonging to a trench- 
mortar company deserted and gave not only the date of the 
impending great offensive, but also the extent of the attack : 
the enemy had fixed " 2 1st March as his ' Zero ' day." 



Ill 

THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE OF I918 : THE FIRST BATTLES OF 
THE SOMME, I918, 2 1 ST MARCH-5TH APRIL 

(i) The Battle of St. Quentin : iist—i^rd March 
(See map p. 298) 

The night of the 20th /21st of March which preceded the 
great German attack was extraordinarily peaceful. Tension in 
the front-line trenches had for several days and nights been 
almost unbearable — there was an uncanny feeling of something 
in the air thus described in a battalion diary : " Added to a 
certain apprehension difficult to diagnose there is a general 
restlessness all round." 

At least sixty-four German divisions 1 took part in the attacks 
on the 2 1 st March, on a front of about fifty-four miles. To meet 
these, the Third Army (Byng) had eight divisions in the line, and 
seven in reserve. The Fifth Army (Gough) had eleven divisions 
in the line, and three infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions 
in reserve. The total on the original battle front, on our side, 
was, therefore, nineteen divisions in the line, and ten infantry 
divisions and three cavalry divisions in reserve. 

The area of the German offensive spread northwards on the 

x This considerably exceeded the number of British divisions in France and Flanders. 
294 



POSITION OF 2 1 st DIVISION [ MAR . «st, i 9i8 

2,8 th March, until seventy-three German divisions were engaged 
against our Third and Fifth Armies and right of the First Army, 
opposed at first by twenty-two infantry divisions in the line and 
twelve and three cavalry divisions in close reserve {Ties-patch of the 
loth July, 191 8, para. 12), on a front of about sixty-three 
miles. 

The German plan of attack was to strike at the Fifth Army 
from between La Fere and Villers-Guislain, and at the Third 
Army from Moeuvres to Croisilles, leaving the Flesquie 
Salient to be pinched off by the inner flanks of the two attacks 
which were to join hands when the Salient had disappeared. 

To meet this attack the Fifth and Third British Armies 
extended from our junction with the French just south of Barisis 
to south of Gavrelle — a front of sixty-nine miles. 

Four sectors are of particular interest to the Lincolnshire 
Regiment, (i) just east of Epehy and at the southern point of the 
Flesquieres Salient, (ii) between Flesquieres and the Canal du 
Nord, the northern portion of the Salient, (iii) Bullecourt, and 
(iv) Croisilles. These four sectors of the line, held respectively 
by the 21st, 17th, 59th and 34th Divisions, saw some of the 
heaviest fighting during the early stages of the German attack. 

Shortly before 5 a.m. (Despatch of the 20th July, i^\%,para. 13) 
on the 2 1st of March the enemy opened a bombardment of great 
intensity, using gas and high-explosive shells from guns of every 
calibre, as well as from trench-mortars, against practically the 
whole British line from the Oise to the Scarpe Rivers ; roads and 
communications behind the front line being also swept by the 
enemy's artillery-fire. 

For four hours the bombardment continued and our outpost 
line, front line and support trenches were subjected to a merciless 
pounding. Then, at about 9.45 a.m. (Despatch of the 10th 
July, 191 8, para. 13), the German infantry advanced. 

A thick fog hung over the whole battlefield, whichhid the 
approach of the enemy from our outpost line, which in many 
places was overwhelmed before it had a chance of putting up a 
fight. 

The 2 1 st Division held a line south of the Flesquieres Salient, 
which included Epehy, Peiziere, Vaucellette Farm and Chapel 
Crossing. Of the two brigades which held the front line, i.e., 
1 10th on the right and 62nd on the left, the 1st Lincolnshire of 
the latter were in trenches which ran from Birchwood Copse, on 
the right, to Chapel Street, on the left. The Wood was three 
hundred yards north-east of Vaucellette Farm and Chapel Street, 
the same distance north of the Villers-Guislain-Heudicourtroad. 
One company (C) of the 2nd Lincolnshire, with two tanks, held 
Chapel Hill in rear of the front line, and for the defence of which 

2 95 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Lieut.-Colonel B.D. Fisher, the Officer Commanding ist 
Lincolnshire, was responsible. 

The first report that reached Battalion Headquarters ist 
Lincolnshire at 10 a.m. was to the effect that the Germans had 
broken through between Vaucellette Farm and Andrew Street, 
and a few minutes later, through the fog, we saw their leading 
infantry surround and actually lead away as prisoners the Com- 
manding Officer and the personnel of the Headquarters of another 
battalion whose Headquarters in a sunken road were about two 
hundred yards from our own Battalion Headquarters. On this 




THE FOG LIFTS 

the Battalion Headquarters moved fighting up Chapel Hill, and, 
eventually, with elements of the 2nd Lincolnshire, formed a de- 
fensive flank along the southern edge of Genin Well Copse No. 2. 
It was a near shave, but thanks to a very efficient look-out man at 
the top of the steps of the Battalion Headquarters dug-out, who 
spotted the German infantry advancing, and at once gave the 
alarm, we had a couple of minutes' warning, and were able to 
get away practically intact. 

When the. fog lifted, mounted officers could be distinctly seen 
advancing with the German infantry, and one in particular on a 
white horse was actually shot by a man of the i st Battalion. An 
unusual number of German stretcher-bearers were also seen, and 
it was eventually realised that these stretchers were being used 
for the purpose of bringing up ammunition. 
296 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [MAR . «st, i 9 is 

Owing to the dense fog which prevailed for many hours during 
the early morning, a great number of machine-guns, defending 
the battalion sector, and firing on fixed lines, expended all, or 
nearly all, their ammunition, with the result that when the fog 
cleared, and the Germans became plainly visible, these guns were 
useless to the defence. 

Throughout the day things were precarious, and at times 
critical, but the two front-line companies stood firm, and their 
trenches at the end of the day, except in one or two unimportant 
places were practically intact. Communication with Brigade 
Headquarters from the commencement of the bombardment was 
non-existent, except by runners : after dark a message was re- 
ceived from the Brigade Commander to say that the battalion 
" had done magnificently, and had saved the situation." 

It was not until 8 a.m. on the morning of 22nd March that 
the relief by the South African Scottish was completed, and the 
battalion was safely back in Pioneer Camp at Heudicourt. 

The 2nd Battalion received orders at 5.45 a.m. to " man battle 
positions." C Company was then under the orders of the Officer 
Commanding, left sector front line (Officer Commanding ist 
Lincolnshire). The other three companies, A, B, and D, 
marched to the railway cutting to their position in the Yellow 
Line, i.e., about one thousand yards west of Vaucellette Farm. 
Thick fog and heavy gas shelling made that movement exceed- 
ingly difficult, nevertheless, companies were established in their 
positions by 7 a.m., and maintained them throughout the day. 
At about 1 2 noon a party of the enemy, under cover of a sunken 
road, succeeded in getting round the left flank of the battalion.' 
Battalion Headquarters spotted the Germans and with a gun 
team of the Machine-Gun Battalion opened fire, killing a number 
of the enemy : the remainder (about fifty) then surrendered to 
the Lincolnshire. 

On the northern point of the Flesquieres Salient the Germans 
opened their bombardment at 4.50 and at 5 a.m. extended north 
along the front of the 17th and 51st Divisions. A little later 
Hermies was also under heavy shell-fire, the enemy using large 
quantities of phosgene gas shells. 

The 52nd Brigade, on the right, and 50th Brigade, on the left, 
held the 17th Divisional front, the 51st Brigade being then 
located in the Hermies defences. The 7th Lincolnshire were, 
therefore, not in the front line when the great attack opened. 
The battalion manned battle positions which consisted of trenches 
extending round the eastern, northern and north-western exits 
of Hermies, the order of companies being D, C and B (from right 
to left), with A 'in reserve. 

The gas shelling slackened at about 1 1 a.m., otherwise the 

297 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

bombardment lasted all day, causing casualties : 2nd Lieutenant 
W.J. Hirons and three other ranks were killed and 2nd Lieu- 
tenant Harrison and ten other ranks wounded. 

The 2 1 st thus passed without the 7th Lincolnshire coming in 
contact with the enemy's infantry. But the 22nd was likely to 




be a day of trial for the battalion, for during the night of the 2 1st / 
22nd a patrol, consisting of an officer and a platoon of A Company 
patrolling north and north-west of Hermies, captured two 
Germans, and ascertained that most of Doignies, some two 
thousand yards north-west of Hermies, was already in the hands 
of the enemy : the prospects of heavy righting on the 22nd were, 
therefore, practically certain. 

The enemy's attack fell with great fury on the four divisions 
on the left of the 17th, i.e., 51st, 6th, 59th and 34th (right to 
298 



THE 4 th & 2/5TH LINCOLNSHIRE [MA r. „st, i 9 i8 

left). He was endeavouring to cut off the troops in the Flesquieres 
Salient (attacked only lightly) from the north as he had attempted 
from the south. 

The 176th Brigade of the 59th Division was holding the right, 
and the 1 78 th the left of the Divisional front line when the attack 
opened : the 177th Brigade was in reserve, the 4th and 2 /5th 
Lincolnshire being in Mory Camp. 

At 5 a.m., owing to the violent bombardment of the front line, 
both battalions were ordered to " stand to." Breakfasts were 
hurried on and were only partially eaten when orders came to 
move immediately with other units of the brigade across country 
in artillery formation to their alloted positions in the support line 
third system, which ran just east of the Vraucourt-St. Leger road. 
The 4th Lincolnshire had the 2 /5th on their right front and 4th 
Leicesters on their left front. 

All three battalions lay in these positions until noon : the 
noise from the continued roar of bursting shells could be heard, 
but nothing was to be seen owing to the mist. 

At 12 noon the 2/j"th Lincolnshire and 4th Leicesters were 
ordered to occupy the second-system trenches, the 4th Lincoln- 
shire to remain in reserve in the third system. But the two lead- 
ing battalions, on passing the third-system trenches, discovered 
that the enemy had over-run the Ecoust Ridge and was already 
occupying the second system. Indeed, his troops were climbing 
over the ridge in large numbers, and before the 2 /5th Lincoln- 
shire could extend, three companies were cut off, and the brigade 
narrative states : " What happened to these companies is not 
known, as they were never seen again." 

The remaining company took up position in the front line of 
the third system, with the 4th Lincolnshire on the left and 4th 
Leicesters on the left of the 4th Lincolnshire. 

The enemy's machine-gun fire was terrific : his troops carried 
large numbers of guns. The enemy's plan of attack appeared 
to be the capture of all high ground from which he could enfilade 
our line, right and left. 

The third system, in which the Lincolnshire were located, was 
merely a line of split-blocked trenches, affording little or no 
cover. Tools were, therefore, collected from a neighbouring 
dump and the men dug themselves in with a will 

No change, apparently, took place in the position during the 
remainder of the 21st 

The 10th Lincolnshire, of the 103rd Brigade (34th Division) 
were lying in old trenches three hundred yards south-east of 
Boiry Becquerelle on the night of the 20th /21st of March and 
were shelled early on the morning of the 2 1st. It was hot until 
2.50 p.m., however, that the battalion received orders to move 

299 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

as the enemy was reported to have broken through Bullecourt 
and Ecoust, had over-run Bunhill Row, and were advancing on 
Croisilles. C Company was moved to Henin Hill and the re- 
mainder of the battalion took up positions south and west of 
Croisilles, with Battalion Headquarters in a sunken road between 
that village and St. Leger. At midnight the dispositions of the 
battalion were, therefore, on a north-west to south-east line, 
between Croisilles and St. Leger : the 9th Northumberland 
Fusiliers were on the right of the 10th Lincolnshire and troops 
of the 102nd Brigade on the left. 

The night of the 2 1 st ji 2 nd passed comparatively quietly : the 
enemy's infantry was as tired as ours : his guns were apparently 
moving up while ours were moving back : for no one doubted 
that dawn the following morning would see a renewal of the 
great struggle. 

On the morning of the 22nd thick mist again covered the 
battlefield, once again hiding the enemy from our troops, who 
were trying to watch his movements. 

It was not until 1 2 noon that the enemy renewed his attacks 
upon the 2nd Lincolnshire (the 1st Battalion being then at 
Pioneer Camp, on the Heudicourt-Saulcourt road). At that 
hour the battalion received orders to withdraw to a line south of 
Heudicourt, as Epehy had fallen and in consequence the right 
flank was in danger. But before the battalion could get clear 
from the enemy, A and D Companies became involved against 
overwhelming numbers and lost severely. The survivors then 
re-formed just north of Heudicourt and awaited orders. About 
5 p.m. the situation again became critical : the enemy in great 
strength was closing in on the village from the right rear and left 
flank, and orders were received to withdraw to the Green Line, 
which ran along the eastern side of Gurlu Wood (south of Nurlu). 

Then ensued a rearguard action. Pressed hard by the enemy 
and harassed by hostile aeroplanes which swooped down and 
machine-gunned the sorely-tried Lincolnshire, the gallant sur- 
vivors of the Regiment nevertheless put up a fine fight as they 
fell back over open downland country, which offered little or no 
cover. 

An officer (Major E.P. Lloyd) of the battalion stated : " The 
characteristics of our men can seldom have been more clearly 
shown than in this situation. Although being driven back by 
vastly superior numbers, with flanks and rear threatened, and 
with no prospect of immediate help, there was no semblance of 
panic, the men withdrawing in good order, fighting stubbornly 
and taking every opportunity of inflicting casualties on the 
advancing enemy." 

Relief came only when darkness had fallen over the battlefield, 
300 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [mar. 23 rd, i 9 is 

for the enemy ceased his attacks and the little band of Lincoln- 
shire — there were only eighty men left — inarched back to their 
allotted position at Gurlu Wood. Worn out as were all ranks, 
touch had to be gained with troops on the flank, the defences re- 
organized and improved, ammunition replenished, rations ob- 
tained and distributed, and the first streaks of dawn of the 23rd 
shot across the sky before all these duties were completed. 

Similarly, the ist Battalion, having first manned the Brown 
Line to enable troops from the Yellow Line to pass through, 
received orders to fall back to the Green Line west of Aziecourt- 
le-Bas later in the afternoon. Fierce fighting took place during 
that retirement : every foot of ground was contested and the 
enemy paid dearly for his gains. 

Dusk was falling when the Green Line was reached. There 
were roughly one hundred and ten men of the battalion to hold 
two thousand yards of front allotted. The line had only been 
split-locked. The wire had been placed behind the line twenty 
or thirty yards up the hill. There was no wire in front. A 
support line did not exist. The night was very cold and few of 
the men got any sleep, tired out though they were. The com- 
ments on the condition of the line were very bitter and justified. 

As anticipated, the 7th Lincolnshire of the 17th Division 
(north of the Flesquieres Salient) were actively engaged on the 
22nd. About 9.45 a.m. the enemy was observed attacking troops 
of the 51st Division, on the left of the 17th. B Company and 
part of C were holding the defensive flank north-west of Hermies, 
the remainder of C Company and D acting as supports on the 
Demicourt road. 

As the Germans advanced to the attack these companies caught 
them in enfilade and mowed them down. Three successive 
waves were thus dealt with and hundreds of Germans were lying 
in heaps — killed or wounded. The slaughter was prodigious. 

But gradually the enemy's numbers began to tell: he was 
getting nearer to Hermies, his troops having occupied the con- 
nection of the Hermies-Lurgan Switch Line on the 51st Divi- 
sional front. He then began working his way down the trench 
to within bombing distance of the Quarry. B Company then 
organized a counter-bombing attack and drove the enemy out 
of bombing range. 

No retirement of the 7th Lincolnshire took place during the 
22nd : the battalion all day had good targets and Lewis gun 
and rifle-fire was opened on the enemy with excellent results. 

Dawn of the 22nd found the survivors of the 2 /5th Lincoln- 
shire (five officers, including the Commanding Officer, and about 
eighty n.c.o.s and men) in the third-system support line 
north-west of Vraucourt. 

301 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The morning and early afternoon passed without any attack 
being made on the line held by the 1 77th Brigade. But about 
4 p.m. masses of Germans could be seen swarming round the far 
side of Vraucourt, turning the right of the 4th Lincolnshire, who 
were forced to withdraw to the Army Line in front of Mory, 
The remnants of the 1 /5th Battalion also fell back to this line 
and, with the 2 /4th Leicesters on the left, the three battalions 
of the brigade dug in, tired and worn out as they were. 

At about 8 p.m. an officer from the 2 /4th Leicesters arrived 
at Battalion Headquarters, 2 /5th Lincolnshire, in a breathless 
condition : he had been sent by his Commanding Officer to say 
that the division on his left had been driven back and that the 
enemy had turned the flank of the Leicesters, and was almost in 
Mory. This was very soon evident, for both the Leicesters and 
2 /fth and 4th Lincolnshire were being fired at from both front 
and rear. So once again a retirement was necessary. 

" Though the men were becoming very tired they fought 
every inch of the way and obeyed all the orders of their officers 
and n.c.o.s in a most exemplary and cheerful manner." 
{Battalion Diary, if$th Lincolnshire.) 

All three battalions of the 177th Brigade then fell back to 
positions south-west and west of Mory and patrols were sent out, 
but found the enemy had penetrated the village in considerable 
numbers. During the night B Company of the 4th Lincolnshire 
occupied the southern edge of Mory and held up the enemy with 
almost continuous Lewis gun and rifle-fire. The Leicesters also, 
holding the western outskirts of the village drove back the enemy 
in hand-to-hand fighting. 

It will be remembered that during the night of the 2ist/22nd 
March the 10th Lincolnshire, with the 9th Northumberland 
Fusiliers on their right and troops of the lorst Brigade on their 
left, had taken up positions in the third system about half-way 
between St. Leger and Croisilles. 

At 3 a.m. (22nd) orders were received to move one company 
of the 10th Lincolnshire to Croisilles Switch North, i.e., west of 
Croisilles : the move was carried out forthwith. 

Fighting began on the left flank at about 7 a.m., when the 
enemy attempted to push up from the south-east against the 
Switch. Time after time he was driven back, but just as per- 
sistently returned to the attack. At 9 a.m. the Officer Com- 
manding company, in the Switch, reported that a pioneer com- 
pany of the 102nd Brigade had been driven out of the trench 
and had retired towards Hill Switch (west and north-west). 
Fruitless efforts were made by the Pioneers to re-occupy their 
line. The left company of the 10th Lincolnshire was now in a 
precarious position, being under fire from front, flank and rear, 
302 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [mar. 2 *nd, i 9 is 

but they held on grimly until about 1 1.30 a.m., when they were 
ordered to fall back to Hill Switch. They got back to the latter 
trench, where they had B Company on their right and a body of 
the 25th Northumberland Fusiliers on their left. But at 1.20 
p.m., the Officer Commanding left company reported his flank 
uncovered, as the troops who had been there had again fallen 
back : he was ordered to fling back his left and form a defensive 
flank facing north. Soon afterwards three companies of the 1st 
East Lanes came up as reinforcements : they were badly needed, 
and were placed in the Croisilles Switch North. 

Meanwhile the centre company of the ioth Lincolnshire had 
been engaged all day. So terrific was the firing that two Lewis 
guns burst from overheating : thousands of rounds had also 
been fired by the riflemen. 

At about 2-4-S p.m., the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers, on the 
right of the Lincolnshire, fell back, and although they advanced 
again, were finally compelled to vacate their trench. The enemy 
then seized the position and began at once to enfilade the right 
company of the Lincolnshire. Somewhere about 5 p.m., the 
line of St. Leger Wood was lost. 

The situation of the ioth Lincolnshire was now critical : the 
left company was almost surrounded, for the Lewis gun team 
forming its flank protection had been rushed, and the enemy was 
still established in Hill Switch : the East Lanes in Croisilles 
Switch North were being badly enfiladed, while south the enemy 
was working along the south side of the railway between the 
battalion and St. Leger, and touch had been lost with the 9th 
Northumberland Fusiliers. " Isolated as my battalion was," 
said the Officer Commanding (Lieut.-Colonel Blockley), " on the 
crest of the hill, with night coming on and the enemy known to 
have a free passage round my flanks, I deemed it wiser to prepare 
for a withdrawal, the alternative being the probable cutting off 
and surrounding of the whole battalion." 

At 4.30 p.m., the Colonel ordered all companies to withdraw if 
necessary, making their own arrangements, but keeping touch 
with each other. 

The withdrawal was carried out systematically and in good 
order to the third system north-west of St. Leger, where, with 
the three companies of the 1st East Lanes, touch was obtained on 
the right with the 40th Division and on the left with a brigade of 
Guards. 

Just before dawn on the 23rd, the ioth Lincolnshire were 
relieved and marched back to Hamelincourt. 

t Excepting for long-range artillery-fire, the enemy did not 
disturb the 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire as they worked on the Green 
Line at Gurlu Wood during the night of the 22nd/23rd. 

303 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Shelling started soon after daylight, and shortly afterwards the . 
Germans advanced and made certain progress round both flanks 
of the battalion. At 8.30 a.m. an order was received to retire 
on Midinettes Trench, between Aizecourt-le-Haut and Mois- 
lains. There was no panic, and although the Germans were now 
very close, and well equipped with light machine-guns, their 
shelling had decreased to a very great degree. The Germans at 
this stage of the operations were particularly successful in their 
tactics of infiltration, and the whole 0/ their leading lines seemed 
to consist of light machine-guns, which were rushed forward into 
position, and followed at a considerable interval by their riflemen. 
Orders were being issued to companies when troops on the 
left of the 1st Lincolnshire were seen to be already falling back 
from the Green Line. There was then a great rush of the enemy, 
and the 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire fell back at once. Through 
Gurlu Wood, fighting all the way, the two battalions retired. 
When they emerged into the open on the western side of the 
wood they were caught at short range by the German machine- 
guns and casualties again became heavy. 

Here it was that I^ieut.-Colonel E.P. Lloyd, Commanding 
Officer of the 2nd Lincolnshire, was wounded and command of 
the battalion was assumed by Major E.E.F. Baker. 

The and Lincolnshire state that their line after this retirement 
ran parallel with " the Nurlu-Peronne road, with left flank rest- 
ing on road near junction of Nurlu-Moislains road. 1st 
Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, continuing the line to the left." 
But this position was not held for long. The 2nd Lincoln- 
shire were forced out of their line at 12 noon : the 1st Battalion 
held the line until 3 p.m. : the time is immaterial for, again under 
shell and machine-gun fire, the two battalions fell back, on this 
occasion on Haut Allaines, where reorganization was attempted. 
The limit of endurance had almost been reached, but the 
fighting was not yet over, for the position at Haut Allaines was 
not, as the records of the 2nd Battalion state, " maintained for 
very long" : the enemy pressure continued and finally the 
Lincolnshire fell back to a line approximately midway between 
Clery and Bois Marrieres. 

The enemy, too, by this time was thoroughly worn out and 
for the remainder of the 23rd the remnants of the two battalions 
were left in peace. 

Captain Neilson, of the 1st Lincolnshire, with about forty 
men, held a line east of Bouchavesnes : other small portions of the 
battalion were in the neighbourhood of Maricourt. During the 
day their Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel B.D. Fisher) was 
also wounded. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire took up a defensive position for the 
304 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [mar. 23 r D , i 9 . 8 

night, their numbers having now dwindled to six officers and 
about seventy other ranks. 

The pressure of the enemy on Demicourt and Doignies on the 
night of the 2 2nd /23rd of March had, as was anticipated, its 
effect upon the 7th Lincolnshire, holding Hermies, for that 
battalion early on the 23rd observed the enemy massing in the 
valley north and north-west of the latter .village. Hermies was 
heavily shelled, but the trench system round the eastern and 
northern exits escaped with only slight shelling. 

During the morning Brigade Headquarters ordered the 
evacuation of Hermies. The Commanding Officer (Lieut.- 
Colonel Metcalfe), with A and C Companies, withdrew at 1.45 : 
he was followed at 2.15 p.m. by Major Peddie with B and D 
Companies. At 2 p.m. the enemy had broken into the Hermies 
line south of the Graincourt road (Lurgan Switch), and there was 
a gap from south of the road, which was filled by one platoon of 
D Company under 2nd Lieutenant Dunn. 

Hermies was now beset by the enemy on three sides. His 
troops poured down the Graincourt and Demicourt roads and 
up the valley north-west of the village. On the Graincourt 
road flank, 2nd Lieutenant Dunn with his platoon was soon 
engaged in a stiff rearguard action, a platoon of B Company being 
similarly engaged on the Demicourt road flank. Captain E.G. 
Carr and Captain Wotherspoon and 2nd Lieutenant Hommert, 
with about sixty other ranks of B Company, who had taken cover 
in the Quarry, were cut off and surrounded and presumably 
captured. 

After falling back from Hermies, the 7th Lincolnshire formed 
up in column of route at the eastern end of Bertincourt, A and 
C Companies being: detailed to move to the north-eastern end of 
Velu Wood. 

As showing the obscure nature of the situation, A Company 
had already begun to move off before it was known that Velu 
Wood was already in the hands of the enemy. Fortunately it 
was possible to inform the company of this and they rejoined the' 
battalion and again fell back to a position one mile south-west of 
Villers-au-Flos, where a hot meal was given the men and ammuni- 
tion replenished. The 7th Lincolnshire then moved into huts 
for the night. 

Early on the morning of the 23rd March the Commander of 
the 177th Brigade, seeing that the enemy was holding the high 
ground north of Mory, and the positions of the 4th and 2 /£th 
Lincolnshire was untenable, ordered a withdrawal to a position 
on the high ground south-east of Ervillers and east of the 
Ervillers-Behagnies road. 

This necessitated a retirement across five hundred to six 

x 305 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

hundred yards of open country and was carried out under very 
heavy close-range machine-gun fire, further casualties being 
suffered. 

" The extended line of our men moved back in splendid order 
with the greatest steadiness until they arrived at the position 
where they dug in." (Battalion Diary, 4-th Lincolnshire Regiment?) 
The 4th Lincolnshire .had the 2/$th on their left. Here the 
welcome news was received that the 40th Division would relieve 
the Lincolnshire. For two days the two battalions had been 
fighting almost continuously, during which time sleep or rest 
had been practically impossible. But relief seemed to have been 
impossible. 

The 10th Lincolnshire were not in action on the 23rd and, 
after relief and arrival at Hamelincourt continued their march at 
2.30 p.m. westwards, bivouacking for the night west of the 
Ayette— Bucquoy road. 

Thus, according to the official dates of the various actions which 
formed the first battles of the Somme 191 8, the Battle of St. 
Quentin ends. 

The General results of the Battle of St. Quentin were not what 
the German Higher Command expected them to be. Nowhere 
had there been a real break-through, nowhere were the British 
troops, though pressed hard and involved in fighting of the most 
desperate character, demoralised. The Flesquieres Salient had 
not been " pinched off " as planned by the enemy. We had lost 
ground of a valuable nature, it is true, huge quantities of stores 
and ammunition and many prisoners, but the glorious spirit of 
our officers and men knew no defeat, and whenever it was pos- 
sible divisions, brigades, battalions and even small groups of 
men fought, not with the courage of despair, but in the fine 
conviction that they would hold the German eventually and 
defeat him. 

Already by the evening of the 23rd, the. Seventeenth German 
Army, fighting against Byng's Third Army, had lost such pro- 
digious numbers that it was almost exhausted. 

(ii) The First Battle of Bapaume, itfh-'iyh March 

So far as the 1st Lincolnshire were concerned, the survivors 
of that battalion saw no fighting on the 24th, for from Mari- 
court they marched back, apparently in parties, to the transport 
lines near Bray, where they concentrated. 

The mere handful (less than eighty all told) of the 2nd Lin- 
colnshire, in their defensive positions between Clery and Bois 
Marrieres, passed a peaceful night, but soon after dawn on the 
24th masses of the enemy advanced to the attack. They were 
306 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [ MA *. 34 th, i 9 is 

brought to a standstill by Lewis gun and rifle-fire, but the check 
was only temporary for soon the enemy began to work round the 
flanks, especially on the right, and to prevent envelopment the 
line had to be withdrawn. Ere the retirement began, however, 
the enemy was well round the right flank, and from the right rear 
fire was being opened on the Lincolnshire. From this time 
onwards the fighting consisted of a series of delaying actions, the 
line of retirement being the direction of Hem, which was reached 
about ii a.m. Only four officers and nineteen other ranks 
(including five stragglers from other units) remained. The 
gallant few entered the village, which was apparently held by the 
33rd Division, the remnants of the Lincolnshire being detailed 
to carry ammunition for the battalions holding the high ground 
astride the Hem-Clery road. 

At about 4 p.m. that afternoon orders reached the battalion 
that all units of the 21st Division were to be withdrawn and 
march back on Maricourt, thence to Suzanne, In the latter 
village the 2nd Lincolnshire passed the night, and in the morning 
marched to Bray, where a number of officers and men rejoined the 
battalion : they comprised those who had been on leave, from 
Schools of Instruction, and also a number who had become 
separated from the battalion during the retirement. One com- 
posite company of five officers and two hundred other ranks was 
then formed under Lieutenant G.R. Holliday and marched to 
join a composite battalion formed from units of the 62nd Infantry 
Brigade under Lieut.-Colonel Howlett. Battalion Headquarters 
and the remainder of the battalion marched at 10 p.m. en route 
to Chipilly, where the night was spent. 

Similar orders had been given to the 1st Lincolnshire (who 
must have received reinforcements) on the 25th, that battalion 
also finding one company of two hundred other ranks (four 
platoons), under Captain Newbury. 1 The Diary of the 1st 
Lincolnshire states that " the composite battalion moved off 
during the afternoon," where it is not recorded. The remainder 
of the battalion billeted in a brewery at Bray, though at night 
they also moved to Chipilly, arriving at 12.30 a.m. 

Meanwhile the 7th Lincolnshire had again been involved in 
heavy fighting. At 5.30 a.m. the battalion, with the 51st 
Brigade, moved to Sailly-Saillisel to fill a gap between the 47th 
and 9th Divisions. The line (which was occupied by 8.30 a.m.) 
ran along a sunken road, the left of the battalion joining up with 
the Border Regiment. The 9th Division on the right, however, 

1 1 think -we occupied an outpost position covering Bray that night and caught the 
enemy in column of route in a sunken road, approaching our position early next morning 
•with Lewis gun and rifle-fire, inflicting severe casualties. We then TOthdrew unmolested 
and rejoined the battalion. (T.G.N.) 

307 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

occupied a line further west and the right of the Lincolnshire 
had to be thrown back as a defensive flank. 

About 1 1 a.m.; the enemy attacked, not only frontally, but 
against the right flank, where he brought exceptionally heavy 
enfilade fire to bear upon the sunken road, causing many casual- 
ties. His frontal attack, made with a great number of troops, 
was decimated — " heaps of dead lay in front of the sunken road." 
{Battalion Diary, Jth Lincolnshire Regiment?) But his enfilade 
fire on the road made that place untenable and companies with- 
drew, D under Captain W.H. Parsloe covering the retirement 
of A and C to a new line about five hundred yards further back. 

By this time Lieut.-Colonel Metcalfe had been wounded by 
aeroplane machine-gun fire and Major Peddie had assumed 
command. Other officer casualties were 2nd Lieutenant W. 
Dunn killed, and 2nd Lieutenants Byles and Blake wounded. 

On the right of the Lincolnshire the 9th Division had fallen 
back a considerable distance, and, to conform, the former had 
to fall back again with its right on the Le Transloy road. Two 
more officers were then wounded — Captain Sargent and 2nd 
Lieutenant Naylor. About 3.45 p.m., the battalion retired and 
formed up on the eastern side of Le Transloy, with its left on the 
Le Transloy road to cover the retirement of the 52nd Brigade. 
Finally, as the enemy was rapidly advancing on Le Transloy, the 
Lincolnshire fell back via Le Sars, Flers and High Wood to 
Martinpuich, where the night of the 24th /25th was spent. 

On the 25th the 7th Battalion, at 4 a.m., advanced to a position 
north of Montauban and then withdrew (under brigade orders) 
to a line of five hundred yards south of that village, finally taking 
up positions for the night on the eastern side of Fricourt Wood. 
The 4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire on the 24th were forced to 
give ground and retire still further west, but their records do 
not show heavy fighting. At nightfall both battalions were on 
the way back to Bucquoy, where they arrived some time in the 
early hours of the 25th. During the latter date a further retire- 
ment was made by the 177th Brigade, the 4th and 2 /5th 
Lincolnshire billeting for the night in Bienvillers. 

The 10th Lincolnshire were not again engaged with the enemy 
on the Somme. The battalion moved on the 24th to La 
Cauchie, and on the 25th to fresh billets in Berlincourt. 

The close of the first Battle of Bapaume 1 9 1 8 saw practically 
the end of the fighting on the Somme in March 191 8, so far as 
the Lincolnshire Regiment was concerned. The six battalions, 
as the records show, had fought most gallantly, and had worthily 
upheld the fine traditions of the Regiment. Their losses had 
been heavy. So far as can be gathered from the records (neces- 
sarily brief, as they were written during a period of great strain), 
308 



CASUALTIES of the LINCOLNSHIRE [mA r., i 9i8 

casualties, by battalions, were as follows : ist Battalion — Captain 
E.V. Edwardes, 1 , Lieutenant V.A. Stephenson, and 2nd Lieu- 
tenants A.E. Smith and W.C. Currie 2 killed ; Lieut.-Colonel 
B.D. Fisher, Captain D. Wellesley-Smith, Captain C. Jacobs, 
Royal Army Medical Corps (the Battalion Medical Officer), 
Lieutenants H.M. Boxer, L.A. Howe and 2nd Lieutenants A.E. 
Palmer, A.T. Gough and E.R. Aldous wounded ; casualties in 
other ranks were sixty-six killed and three hundred and eleven 
wounded, many of whom were missing ; the effective strength 
of the battalion on the 31st was only three hundred and thirty- 
four. 2nd Battalion — Captain J.M. Lockie killed ; Lieut.- 
Colonel E.P. Lloyd, Captain S. Wilson, Lieutenant W. Collins, 
2nd Lieutenants E.L. Osborne, 3 A.R. Hill, W.F. Hyde, C. 
Molyneux, V.G.B. Watkins, H.T. Richardson, L. Caldicott, A.E. 
Watson, Lieutenant and Quartermaster W. Collins, and Captain 
The Reverend M. Tron (the battalion Padre) wounded ; 2nd 
Lieutenants C.F. Willcox, F.G. Cole, B. Nightingale and R.H. 
Stafford missing ; in other ranks the 2nd Battalion lost thirty- 
one killed, ninety-five wounded and missing, two hundred and 
thirty-eight missing. Of the 7th Lincolnshire, in addition to 
names already given, 2nd Lieutenant W.J. Hirons was killed, 
also twenty-eight other ranks ; Captain J.H.W. Edgar, 2nd 
Lieutenant J.C. Harrison and one hundred and twenty-eight 
other ranks were wounded ; wounded and missing, Lieutenant 
L.A.E.E. Hommert and three other ranks ; missing, believed 
prisoners, Captains E.deG. Carr and H.C.E. Wotherspoon, and 
one hundred and thirty-seven other ranks. 

The 4th Battalion lost 2nd Lieutenants M.S. Page, H.J. 
Eynes, A.M.H. Bain and twenty-seven other ranks killed, Major 
H.G. Dean, Captain S. Lee, 2nd Lieutenant G. Tolson, and one 
hundred and fourteen other ranks wounded, and fifty-eight other 
ranks missing. 

The casualties of the 2 /5th were Major H. Ward (4th Bat- 
talion, attached 2 /5th) and Lieutenant G.V. Butler, Army Service 
Corps, killed ; Lieutenant R.H. Turner, 2nd Lieutenants R.G. 
Eedes, R.E. Creasey, E.B. Smith, C. Taylor, Captain L.M. 
Webber, Royal Army Medical Corps, and Regimental Sergeant- 
Major W. Coldwell wounded ; Captain E.J.R. Hett, Lieutenant 
B.H. Challenor, 2nd Lieutenants A. Begg, H J. Gale, 4 F. Sharpe, 
F.R Gibbons, F.J. Levi, 5 P.E. Cottis, L.G. Moss/ C.W. Allen, 
and A.J. Elston missing ; in other ranks the losses wereapproxi- 
mately four hundred and ninety killed, wounded and missing. 

* and 2 First reported " wounded and missing." 
Died of wounds, 21st March, 1918. 

> 5 > 6 These three officers are shown in the War Office list of officer casualties as belong- 
ing to the ist Battalion, " killed " : it is possible they were attached to the a/jth Bat- 
talion. 

309 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The ioth Lincolnshire record only two officer casualties, i.e., 
Lieutenant W.E. Finnerty as "missing," but later reported 
killed, and 2nd Lieutenant W.P. Haik wounded ; in other ranks 
they lost fifteen killed, eighty-two wounded and eighty-eight 
missing. 

So far as the Somme was concerned, the German offensive had 
practically come to an end on the 27th of March : the enemy 
had failed to break a way through the Allied front, and Amiens, 
one of his objectives, remained in our hands. 

There is little further to record of the Regiment during the 
closing days of that momentous month : the 1st and and Bat- 
talions both assisted in the formation of composite battalions, but 
apart from taking up defensive positions at Baisieux and Bonnay, 
were not actively engaged. The 1st Battalion on the 31st of 
March was at Bourbon, and the 2nd at Hangest. The 7th 
Lincolnshire took up an outpost line north of Millencourt on 
the 27th, and on the 31st relieved the ioth West Yorks in the 
left sector of the Divisional front east of Bouzincourt. Both the 
4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire marched to Sus-St. Leger on the 
27th, and to Houdain on the 31st. The ioth Battalion had 
gone north to join the First Army and on the 31st of March 
took over front-line trenches in Wez Macquart, covering 
Armentieres from the south-east. 



(iii) The Battle of the Ancre : $th April, 191 8. 

Both on the 4th and 5th of April the enemy made a last effort 
to prevent the Allied line from becoming stable. On the latter 
date his principal effort was made north of the Somme on prac- 
tically the whole front, from Dernancourt to beyond Bucquoy. 
In the neighbourhood of Rossignol his attack was entirely dis- 
organised by a local attack made by troops of the 37th Division : 
the attack on Rossignol Wood was carried out by the 8 th 
Somerset and 8th Lincolnshire of the 63rd Brigade, the 4th 
Middlesex being in reserve. 

The 8th Battalion entrained at Caestre on the 29th of March 
for the Third Army, in the Mondecourt Pas area, arriving on the 
morning of the 30th. The day was spent in billets, but on the 
31st the battalion marched to Henu. The following day the 
Lincolnshire took over front-line trenches south-west of Gomme- 
court in the Rossignol Wood sector, having the 8th Somerset on 
their left ; Australian troops were on the right. 

On the 3rd of April orders were issued for an attack on Ros- 
signol Wood and the enemy's trenches west and south of it, the 
final objective being a sunken road south-west of the Wood and 
310 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [apr IL s th, r 9 i8 

a short length of trench running eastwards from the eastern end 
of the Wood. This entailed on the Lincolnshire front the capture 
of Duck, Swan and Owl trenches : Rossignol Wood, with Fish 
Alley and Roach Trench, were in the area of the Somerset attack. 

The night of the 4th /5th of April was miserable in the 
extreme : rain fell and the inky darkness made the forming-up 
operations difficult, but by zero (5.30 a.m.) on the 5th companies 
were disposed as follows : D on the right, A left, C in support, 
and B in reserve. 

Tanks had been detailed to assist in the attack, but they were 
unable to advance. At zero hour, therefore, the Lincolnshire 




'**.' 




feommecourt 
Hebuterne V\ X>. 




IQQO 



200Q 
1 



3000 
l_— 



4000 Yards 
1 



Scale 



ROSSIGNOL WOOD 



advanced without their assistance. Within fifty yards of the 
jumping-offline the right section suffered severely from machine- 
gun fire, and a similar experience befel the left platoon when 
one hundred and fifty yards from their original trench. Con- 
siderable resistance from the first objective (Duck Trench) 
met the attackers, and heavy fighting took place during which 
about one hundred Germans were taken prisoner and from 
sixty to ninety wounded. This objective was captured by 
545 a.m. 

Considerable machine-gun fire from both flanks met the 
attack on the second objective (Swan Trench), otherwise the 
enemy's resistance was not heavy. Having captured this line 
also, heavy bombing became general on the right. The line 
was cleared with the exception of two strong points, roughly on 
the final objective on the right of the Lincolnshire and at 7.45 
a.m. this position was being consolidated. 

311 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

At about 9 a.m., lorries, full of enemy troops, were seen 
travelling towards Rossignol Wood, but the Lincolnshire still 
maintained their position. At midday the enemy was reinforced 
and the position of the battalion was likely to become serious. 
For touch had not been obtained with either flank, i.e., Austra- 
lians on the right or Somerset on the left. 

Gradually the small garrison of Lincolnshire in Swan Trench 
was driven southwards into the trench system. At about I 
p.m., on the right of the battalion, the enemy advanced from the 
two strong points previously mentioned and cut right into the 
battalion, dividing it into two sections. " From this time," the 
records state, " we were overwhelmed and, owing to lack of 
bombs, we withdrew in good order into our original front 
line. Very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy in this 
action." 

The original front line was re-occupied about 5.30 p.m. 
The narrative states that the conduct of the men was " beyond 
all praise," their musketry being especially good. No less than 
fourteen German machine-guns were either taken or destroyed. 
The 63rd Trench-Mortars were badly cut up before the first 
objective had been reached, and Lieutenant Francis Brown, M.C. 
(8th Lincolnshire), being killed. 

The Brigadier in his report said : "I consider that the be- 
haviour of these battalions, 1 which were composed largely of very 
young soldiers, was beyond all praise." 

Casualties suffered by the 8 th Lincolnshire in this attack were : 
2nd Lieutenant H.F. Moody killed, 2nd Lieutenant C.H.L. 
Askey died of wounds, 2nd Lieutenants P. Lowe and P.H. 
Peadon wounded : other ranks — twenty-six killed, ninety-one 
wounded, eighty-one missing. 

Of that final attack by the enemy to open the road to Amiens 
at the eleventh hour, the despatch {Despatch of the 10th July, 
19 1 8, para. 48) states that, with the exception of some minor 
adjustments in our line north of the Somme, the enemy's efforts 
were " entirely without result." From that date his offensive 
on the Somme ceased for the time being and conditions rapidly 
approached those of normal trench warfare. 

The 7th Lincolnshire took no part in the battle : the 17th 
Division was in Corps Reserve on the 5th of April, the battalion 
being at Mirveux, though under orders to move at fifteen 
minutes' notice. 



1 8th Lincolnshire, 8th Somerset and 4th Middlesex. 



312 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [april 9 th, x 9 is 
IV 

THE GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE OF I918 : THE BATTLES OF THE 
LYS, 9TH— 29TH APRIL 

(i) The Battle of Estaires : tyh-i ith April 

The enemy's offensive on the Sommehad hardly ended when on 
the 9th of April he launched another great attack in the Lys Valley. 

On the night of the 7th of April an unusually violent hostile 
bombardment with gas shell broke out along practically the whole 
line from Lens to Armentieres. At about 4 a.m. on the 9th, 
it recurred with the greatest intensity and three hours later the 
enemy attacked the 2nd Portuguese Division holding the line 
just north of Neuve Chapelle. He broke into their trenches and 
then rolled back the flanks, involving the whole front line from 
north of Givenchy to just south-west of Armentieres. 

The ioth Battalion on the morning of the 9th was holding 
front-line trenches south-east of Armentieres, from Salop Avenue 
to the Lille— Armentieres road, C and D Companies in the front 
line, A Company in the brickfields, B in Spring Point in Fleurie 
Switch Line, both in reserve. 

The enemy's bombardment began at 4 a.m., chiefly on the 
support and reserve trenches. At n a.m., A Company was 
moved up to support, and at 12.45 p.m., B Company (Captain 
Newton) was sent off to the right flank from Streaky Bacon Farm 
to La Vasee. As this company approached Gris Pot a party of 
the enemy was seen advancing from the village. The German 
n.c.o. was shot and the party driven back into Gris Pot. 

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., large parties of the enemy tried to 
advance through the village, but were each time repulsed with 
heavy casualties : at the latter hour, however, the enemy 
momentarily occupied the north-easterly house, but was driven 
out, and B Company occupied the building. With the exception 
of heavy shell-fire the night of the 9th- ioth passed quietly. 

At 8 a.m. on the ioth, the enemy again attacked Gris Pot, but 
until 1 2 noon was held in check, though in the meantime, and 
by the latter hour, the Germans had worked round the right flank 
and were enfilading B Company with machine-gun fire. 

On the right of the 34th Division the situation was seri- 
ous, for fighting was general along the whole line from the 
Lys, near Erquinghem, to the Lincolnshire old front line and 
Shaftesbury Avenue, i.e., the whole of the flank on the right of 
the Division had gone and the enemy was pushing north-east 
along the river towards Armentieres. A Company of the 
Lincolnshire set off about 3 p.m. to assist a battalion whose right 

3*3 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

rested on the Lys, but was too late to save the situation, as the 
enemy was by this time commanding the railway and railway 
bridge in Armentieres. 

At 3.15 a general retirement was ordered by Brigade Head- 
quarters to the left bank of the Lys, protected by covering 
parties of which B Company 1 of the Lincolnshire and two com- 
panies of the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers held the Spring Post 
position until the remainder of the battalion had fallen back. 



Croix cJe/ 
Popennghe; 



iPranouti^e |(»| 




kTctuyuet 



$DoisGrenier 



THE BATTLE OF ESTAIRES 



Shortly after 7 p.m., the enemy advanced in strength along the 
L'Arinee— Rue Marie road, and a rear party of the Lincolnshire, 
consisting of twelve other ranks under 2nd Lieutenant E.H. 
Williams, was ordered to cover the retirement. This party 
behaved most gallantly, killing five of the enemy in close fighting, 
and only withdrawing when B Company was clear. 

Thanks to fine fighting by defensive flanks, the retirement of 
the battalion was carried out with small loss, but it was touch 
and go in getting through Armentieres. The railway bridge 
was found to be in possession of the enemy and the Lincolnshire 

1 B Company of the 10th Battalion received a draft of ninety-seven nineteen-year-old 
lads on the loth April, so that it was the strongest company in the battalion. These lads 
behaved splendidly. 

3H 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE [aprh, nTH , i 9 is 

had to work through the town to Pont de Nieppe, which was 
crossed at 8.27 p.m. 

At 12.15 a.m. (nth April) the battalion held a line from 
Wigan Post, north of Erquinghem, to just east of Blackpool 
(another post), though the Commanding Officer stated, " there 
can be little doubt that at this time the enemy were behind 
Battalion Headquarters . ' ' 

A belated message, timed 10.25 P' m «j was then received by 
the Commanding Officer ordering the battalion to fall back on 
the Armentieres— Bailleul railway. On receipt of these orders 
the Lincolnshire moved to the railway station and line south of 
Nieppe (C and B Companies) and Touquet (A and B Companies). 
From ro a.m. to 2 p.m. the enemy made continuous attacks down 
the railway and from farms on the Nieppe— Croix du Bac road. 
On the left he was stopped by the East Lanes, and on the right 
by the Lincolnshire machine and Lewis guns. But his per- 
sistence on the left finally prevailed and eventually advanced 
elements of the East Lanes were surrounded and captured, which 
left the 1 oth Battalion in a critical position. But by skilfully dis- 
posing his companies, the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel 
A.W. Blockley was able to keep the enemy off and prevent his 
further progress. 

At 5 p.m., orders were received from Brigade Headquarters 
for the battalion to withdraw along the railway to a position from 
north of Steenwerck to the 31st Division (on the right of the 
34th). This retirement began at 7.30 p.m., but on approaching 
Le Veau, heavy machine-gun fire was encountered from the 
railway and farm buildings north-east of the latter and near the 
village, the enemy having actually crossed the railway. The 
battalion was consequently forced to follow the main Bailleul 
road to the junction of the road leading to Steenwerck Station. 

A Company was then sent to find out the situation and push 
forward to Steenwerck Station if possible : B and D Companies 
were a little later pushed forward to get touch with A. A runner 
also was despatched to Brigade Headquarters, giving the dis- 
position of the battalion. About 9 p.m., an officer from the 
brigade arrived and gave details of another position in rear of La 
Creche, which was to be occupied at once by all units of the 
103rd Brigade. 

With some difficulty, therefore, the three companies were 
recalled and the battalion moved to north of La Creche in touch 
on the left with the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers, but out of 
touch on the right. 

Thus, so far as the ioth Lincolnshire were concerned, ended 
the Battle of Estaires. For three days the battalion had been 
marching and fighting with tenacity and great courage, often in 

315 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

critical and obscure situations, but by good leadership and 
gallantry winning through. 

(ii) The Battle of Messines, 191 8 : loth-nth April 

In the meantime the 2nd Lincolnshire had been involved with 
the enemy further north, for on the 1st of April both the 1st 
and and Battalions, with other units of the 62nd Brigade, had 
entrained at Hangest for Peselhoek, whence they were conveyed 
by bus and lorry to the Locre— Kemmel area. 

On the night of the 4th /5th the 62nd and 64th Brigades 
relieved the Australian troops in the Wytschaete area, the 1st 




, tanyzer Cab£ 

_^_ tschaete 

BqeaertX \ 
3000 rdsZ.® I?' \ P'ok Ho. 



THE BATTLE OF MESSINES, I918 

Lincolnshire on the right and the 2nd on the left, but the brigade 
was relieved on the 7th /8th, the 1st Battalion moving back to 
Ramillies Camp and the 2nd to Kemmel Shelters. 1 On the 
10th, in consequence of the German offensive, the brigade moved 
to the reserve area of the Divisional sector south of the Menin 
road, the 1 st Lincolnshire to Otago Camp and 2nd Lincolnshire 
to Forrester Camp. 

But Brigade Headquarters had hardly been established at 
Bedford House, when orders were received that the brigade (less 
the 1st Lincolnshire to remain under the orders of the 64th 
Brigade) was to move at once to Parret Camp under the orders 
of the 26th Brigade (9th Division) as a result of the heavy attacks 
made on the 9th and 19th Divisions. 

1 On the night of the 8th/9th Lieut.-Colonel R. Bastard assumed command of the 
2nd Lincolnshire vice Major E.E.F. Baker. 

^t6 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [AP ril ioth, i 9 is 

The 2nd Lincolnshire and the 12th /13th Northumberland 
Fusiliers arrived at Parret Camp at 1 a.m. (nth) and were at 
once given orders to retake Wytschaete and re-establish them- 
selves on the Messines-Wytschaete road between Pick House 
and the southern end of Onraet Wood before dawn. The 
Northumberland Fusiliers were to attack on the right and the 
2nd Lincolnshire on the left. 

This very difficult operation was successfully carried out by 
the 2nd Lincolnshire on the night of the ioth/nth April, 
About n p.m., the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel R. 
Bastard, was instructed by the Brigade Commander, Brig.- 
General Gater, that the situation at Wytschaete was obscure, and 
that the 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment was to advance and try and 
get touch with the 9th Division, whose right was " in the air." 
The night was pitch black, the ground unknown, the road diffi- 
cult to keep to and encumbered with material. The battalion 
moved soon after 1 a.m. on -the nth, with one company as 
advanced guard. After a time the Headquarters of a battalion 
of the Black Watch was found about two hundred yards to the 
left of the road, holding a line in front of Wytschaete Ridge, with 
no troops as far as they knew on their right. The Lincolnshire 
continued the advance till they reached what appeared to be 
rising ground ; the advanced guard, under Captain Pritchard, 
was sent down the forward slope to find a road running parallel 
with the ridge, along which Colonel Bastard intended to deploy 
the battalion. The vanguard met a strong German patrol ; 
Captain Pritchard, who was with the vanguard, charged, cap- 
tured two of the patrol and the remainder fled. He continued 
the advance and found the road on which the battalion deployed. 
At 5.30 a.m., the Lincolnshire advanced unopposed for about 
five hundred yards and occupied the trench they were sent to 
hold, their left being within ten yards of the right of the 9th 
Division, from Somer Farm to Stanyzer Cabaret. 

" Captain Pritchard 's work on that night was beyond all praise, 
we at any moment might have come across the enemy entrenched, 
and his action when meeting the enemy patrol in the face of the 
very nerve-racking advance on this pitch black night, was the 
action of a very brave and resolute leader." (Lieut. -Colonel 
Bastard.) Captain Pritchard was wounded a few days later, 
and most unfortunately died of his wounds, 

During the nth the battalion captured fourteen prisoners 
from three different German regiments. The operation^ was a 
complete success, and the re-establishment of the line an impor- 
tant factor in delaying the German advance. " It was one of 
the most difficult that I recollect being called on to carry out." 
(Brig.-General Gater}) 

317 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT' 

The battalion held the position, which was repeatedly and 
heavily shelled by the enemy, on whom numerous casualties were 
inflicted by rifle and Lewis gun fire, until the night of the 15th/ 
1 6 th, when it was relieved by the 1st Lincolnshire and withdrawn 
to Rossignol Wood Camp. 

(iii) The Battle of Bailleul : 13/A-15/A April 1 

By the night of the 1 ith of April the enemy's line ran just east 
of Wytschaete ; he had taken Messines, and then by Nieppe, 
Steenwerck Station, on the Armentieres-Bailleul railway, south- 
west to Merville, four miles west of Estaires, which we still 
held. 

In this battle five battalions of the Regiment took part. 
On the 10th Lieut.-Colonel B.D. Fisher was posted to the 
command of the 8th Infantry Brigade (3rd Division) and Major 
H.W. Gush assumed command of the 1st Lincolnshire. The 
same night a hurried move was made to Maida Camp, near 
Chateau Segard, where the battalion was attached to the 64th 
Brigade for an attack next day. The attack was cancelled, but 
the Lincolnshire moved into support dug-outs south of the 
Kemmel-Wytschaete road, returning to the 62nd Brigade. 

Front-line trenches were taken over on the following night 
(1 2th /13th) in the Wytschaete sector and the battalion was 
ordered to hold the line from Bogaert Farm, exclusive on the 
right, to Stanyzer Cabaret cross-roads, inclusive, on the left. 
There was little shelter in this position and the enemy's shell-fire 
— a heavy and continuous bombardment — caused many casual- 
ties. On the afternoon of the 1 3 th the enemy shelled the village 
very heavily, but owing to the vigilance of the Vickers and Lewis 
guns, no infantry attack developed. 

Between the evenings of the 12th /13th and 1 5th /i 6th casual- 
ties amounted to two officers and eighty other ranks. Only 
twelve officers, including Battalion Headquarters, went into the 
line with the battalion, and the strain on them was tremendous, 
but the narrative states : " In spite of this the fighting spirit of 
all ranks was maintained at the highest level." 

The 10th Battalion spent the night of the 1 ith/i2th north of 
La Creche, and at 4 a.m. on the 1 2th moved to a new position, 
from the junction of the Bailleul-Armentieres road and railway 
to eight hundred yards east of that point. At the junction of 
the railway and road other troops were found and the Lincoln- 
shire therefore conformed, B and A Companies in front, D and C 
in support. ^ Companies dug in at once and by 1 1 a.m., a series 
of strong points from about eighty yards east of the railway to 

1 The Lincolnshire were not engaged in the Battle of Hazebrouck, I2th/i5th of April. 
318 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE "[apwl i 3 th, 1.91 ' 

the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers on the left were completed. 
Apart from shelling, no action took place during the day. 

Following an order, received at 12.30 a.m. (13th of April), 
the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel Blockley, sent B and D 
Companies forward at 4 a.m., to reinforce the 1 6th Royal Scots : 
they took up position about five hundred yards south-west of the 
Armentieres railway. The line apparently held firm all day, but 
at 5 p.m., the Royal Scots and 40th Division on their right fell 
back on to the two supporting companies of Lincolnshire. At 
8 p.m., orders were received that in the .event of a withdrawal a 
north-west to south-east line would be taken up some two 
thousand yards in rear. The withdrawal was ordered at 10 p.m., 
and the Commanding Officer, with A and C Companies still at 
his disposal, fell back towards the Ravetsberg road. They were well 
on the move when the order was cancelled, but eventually a line 
was taken up round Hill 70, where a series of posts were dug. B 
and D Companies, however, still remained with the 101st Brigade. 

Throughout the morning of the 14th the enemy was observed 
dribbling troops forward from the direction of De Broeken. 
Heavy machine-gun fire swept the front of the Lincolnshire, but 
the Lewis guns of the two companies (A and C) kept the enemy 
under a continuous barrage and his troops were unable to make 
progress. One small party of Germans with a machine-gun 
managed to work along a hedge on the left front of the two 
companies, but was wiped out by Lewis gun fire, and C Company 
later captured the machine-gun. 

At 1 2 noon, B and D Companies rejoined and were placed in 
support of A and C. 

C Company, however, was losing men rapidly and their line 
had to be reinforced by two platoons of A. But when darkness 
had fallen, no ground had been lost by the ioth Lincolnshire, and 
just before 1 1 p.m., the Commanding Officer was informed that 
a portion of the 29th Division was to relieve him. Next day at 
about 2 a.m. (15th), two companies of the 4th Lincolnshire 
arrived and relieved A and C Companies of the ioth Battalion, 
the two support companies of the latter were not relieved, but 
were withdrawn about 3 a.m. 

On relief the ioth Lincolnshire marched back to Haegedoorne 
and at once began to dig a new position on the forward slopes 
of the Hill. 1 The day passed quietly for the battalion, but at 
5.30 p.m., the 59th Division was driven out of its positions and the 
ioth Battalion records that " we again became front-line troops." 

The 59th Division, which included the 4th and 2 /5th Lin- 
colnshire, in the 177th Brigade, was fetched from the trenches 
east of Ypres, to which it was moved early in April, and as 

1 About two thousand to three thousand yards in rear of the position held when relieved. 

319 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

narrated above, came into line on the Ravetsberg Ridge to oppose 
the German attack there. 

The 4th and 2 /5th Lincolnshire entrained at Brandhoek 
during the early afternoon of the 13th April and arriving at 
Godewaersvelde, marched to Mont de Gats and billeted in huts. 
At 2 a.m. on the 14th, however, they were ordered to march to 
Locre, where they were temporarily accommodated in huts until 
1 1 a.m., when they again moved along the Locre-Dranoutre road 
and halted while the Commanding Officers and Company Com- 
manders reconnoitred the reserve line south of Dranoutre. The 
battalions appear to have spent the day in this position, for it was 
(as already stated) early on the 15th when the 4th Lincolnshire 
relieved the 10th Battalion and 5.30 a.m. on the same date before 
the 2 /5th Battalion relieved troops of the 88th Brigade on the 
Ravetsberg Ridge : the 2 /5th were then on the right of the 4th 
Battalion. 

The 2 /j'th (all four companies) were now holding a line of 
four advanced posts on the forward slope of the Ravetsberg 
Ridge. Each company garrisoned a post with one platoon, the 
remaining three platoons digging in on the reverse slope of the 
Ridge. 

At 6 a.m., two hostile patrols, each about twenty strong, 
advanced against one of the right posts, but were driven off, 
leaving three prisoners in the hands of the Lincolnshire and 
seventeen dead and wounded lying out in front. An hour later, 
another patrol advanced against a machine-gun post on the right : 
the patrol was counter-attacked and driven off, the 2 /5th taking 
twelve more prisoners. During the morning, eight German 
deserters gave themselves up. 

About noon the enemy heavily bombarded the positions held 
by the Lincolnshire until 2.30 p.m., when an intense barrage 
was placed, not only on the 2 /5th, but on the units on the right 
and left. At 2.45 p.m., the enemy's infantry advanced and 
attacked the 4th Lincolnshire. The line of the latter remained 
intact. At 3.40 p.m., the right company of the 2 /5th was 
attacked, but the enemy was repulsed with Lewis gun and rifle- 
fire. 

At 4.30 p.m., an alarming report reached the Commanding 
Officer of the 2 /5th, his left Company Commander reporting the 
enemy on the Ridge on his immediate left and that the 4th 
Lincolnshire had fallen back from the Ridge. The 4th Bat- 
talion had, however, formed a defensive flank, still keeping touch 
with the left of the 2 /5th (D Company). By 5.2 5 p.m., the line 
of the 4th Lincolnshire was north of the Ravetsberg road and 
along the railway cutting between Keersebrom and Hill 75. A 
few minutes later the enemy forced his way over the crest of the 
320 



THE 4-th & 2 /5th LINCOLNSHIRE [ APR . i 5 th, I9I s 

hill and breaking the line of the 4th Battalion, got behind the 
left flank of the 2 /5th, and one, platoon of the 4th, which had 
continuously maintained touch with the left of the former. 
Simultaneously a frontal attack was made on the 2 /5th. The 
left company (D) was last seen in its original position engaged in 
desperate fighting at close quarters. The Lewis gun section of 
this company went down fighting to the bitter end, having 
emptied its magazines into the closely-packed ranks of the enemy 
at very close range. 

The three remaining companies of the 2 /5th, on the Ridge, 
then came under very heavy machine-gun fire from the left and 
suffered heavy casualties. The survivors now formed a flank 
facing east, but were gradually driven back to a line taken up by 
the 177th Brigade north-east of Bailleul. Patrols sent out from 
Battalion Headquarters to find the companies, found only the 
enemy. To conform with the 4th Lincolnshire, Battalion Head- 
quarters of the 2 /5th then withdrew a short distance, having on 
the right two companies of the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers. 
Battalion Headquarters personnel were then organized into fire 
units. The enemy was then checked, but the night of the 1 5th / 
1 6th passed anxiously and at 11 p.m., orders were issued from 
the brigade to withdraw to Locre. 

The 2 /5th sustained heavy casualties in this action : Lieut- 
Colonel H.B. Roffey was killed, 2nd Lieutenant L.G. Dickinson 
was wounded, and 2nd Lieutenants W.G. Fenton and J.C. 
Myers were missing : the losses in other ranks killed, wounded 
and missing were three hundred and fifty-two. 

Meanwhile the 4th Lincolnshire had been involved in heavy 
fighting. On taking over from the 102nd Brigade, A Company 
was on the right, B in the centre, and C on the left, D being in 
reserve behind Crucifix Hill. These positions were well down 
the forward slope of the Ravetsberg Ridge, under observation 
from the enemy and movement was impossible. 

At 12 noon the bombardment began, Crucifix Corner (behind 
the left flank of the battalion) receiving marked attention. At 
2.45 p.m., a local attack developed against the latter place, the 
enemy obtaining a footing in the battalion's line. But he was 
driven out by the counter-attack platoon of the left company. 
Again and again he attacked and twice reached the high-ground 
in the neighbourhood of Crucifix Corner, but on each occasion 
was driven off with severe losses. His barrage was then short- 
ened to the position, but his attempts were still frustrated in the 
most gallant manner. A heavy frontal attack against the whole 
line then developed. On the right rifle and Lewis gun fire 
forced him back. On the left, however, troops on the left of the 
4th Lincolnshire had been forced to retire and at last the enemy 

y 3 2 * 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

broke through and captured the crest of Crucifix Hill from the 
eastern side. He was now able to dominate the whole of the 
4th Battalion line with machine-gun fire, and the Lincolnshire 
were forced to withdraw. The action then developed into a 
series of stands and retirements, in which hand-to-hand fighting 
was of frequent occurrence. Eventually a line was dug north of 
the railway in rear of Hill 75, where at about 10 p.m. (troops of 
the 34th Division, having arrived at 7.30 p.m. to take over and 
reorganize the line), orders were received to retire to Locre, 
which was reached at about 2.30 a.m. on the 16th. 




CRUCIFIX HILL 



The losses of the 4th Lincolnshire were 2nd Lieutenants G.W. 
Pacey and H.L. Hubble 'killed, Captains R.B. Wilmshurst, A.E. 
Stephenson, G. Fleming (Royal Army Medical Corps), and 2nd 
Lieutenants W. Paypers, G.S. Lakeman, S,R. Slidel, L.E. 
Squirrel and E.R. Beecroft wounded, and 2nd Lieutenant C.E. 
Blamires missing. In other ranks the casualties were twelve 
killed, one hundred and twenty wounded, and one hundred and 
seventy missing. 

(iv) The First Battle of Kemmel : lyth-iyth April 

The 1st Lincolnshire had a desperate struggle with the enemy 
on the 1 6th, which, though officially before the date of the above 
battle, cannot be separated from it. 
322 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [apr. *s*h, r 9 x8 

The battalion on the night of the 15th/! 6th was on the line 
Bogaert Farm-Stanyzer Cabaret cross-roads. At 4.30 a.m. on 
the 1 6th the enemy put down a terrific barrage on the front line, 
on the village and all approaches to it. This bombardment 
lasted without a break for an hour, then it lifted off the fronts of 
the left and centre battalions, but remained on the Lincolnshire 
for ten minutes longer. Under cover of a dense fog the enemy 
attacked on the flank of the battalion and succeeded in breaking 
the line just north of the Stanyzer Cabaret cross-roads and at 
Peckham. Strong parties of Germans then wheeled inwards and 
attacked both flanks of the Lincolnshire : the frontal attack was 
not pressed. The fog hid the approach of the enemy, and com- 
panies did not know they were attacked until the enemy appeared 
at close quarters. 

Fighting under every disadvantage (the fog denying them the 
full use of Lewis guns and rifles and making it impossible to 
locate the enemy) the battalion stood firm and fought it out to the 
last. " No officer, platoon post or individual surrendered and the 
fighting was prolonged until 6.30 a.m" 1 

Ample evidence of this is furnished by the Commanding 
Officer and Battalion Headquarters, who made a last stand at the 
cross-roads, and did not leave them until 7 a.m. They, a mere 
handful of men, withdrew slowly, fighting all the way back to 
Wytschaete. The withdrawal was covered by the Adjutant 
(Captain F.C.M, McKellar) with revolver and bombs, firing into 
the enemy at close quarters. The Commanding Officer (Major 
Gush), with great gallantry and resource, was thus able to get his 
wounded away. 

The splendid behaviour of the ist Lincolnshire undoubtedly 
saved the situation by breaking the full force of the attack, 
enabling a defensive flank to be formed covering the 64th Brigade 
from North House to Black Cot, and the reserve battalion to be 
pushed forward to the line Vandame Farm-Lagache Farm in 
order. to prevent a break-through. The hard fighting left the 
enemy disorganized (he was unable to consolidate) and naturally 
assisted the counter-attack delivered during the evening of the 
16th. 

The gallant remnants of the ist Lincolnshire reached Siege 
Farm (north-west of Kemmel) on the 17th— five officers and 
eighty-two other ranks. While in this position, twenty-one 
stragglers who had been attached to other units during the fight- 
ing rejoined, bringing the total of other ranks to one hundred 
and three. On the 1 9th the battalion marched back to camp at 
Ouderdom. 

1 From the narrative by Brig.-General G.H. Gater. Captain D.F. Neilson, D.S.O., 
M.C., a most gallant officer, was killed on the 16th April. 

323 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

In the centre attack, made during the evening of the 16th 
(mentioned above),. the and Lincolnshire took part. 

After relief on the night of the i_yth/i6th the battalion 
marched back to camp at Rossignol Wood, which they reached 
at 4 a.m. The battalion then stood to, afterwards recon- 
noitring the Kerstraet-Kemmel road trenches. After standing 
down, orders were received first to man the trenches and shortly 
afterwards to advance with No. 2 Composite Battalion (39 th 
Division) and attack and capture the Peckham-Maedelstede 
Farm ridge. The attack was cancelled, and both battalions 
occupied a line running through Lagache and Vandamme Farms. 
The 2nd Battalion was practically standing to all day. 

At 4 p.m. orders for the counter-attack again arrived, the first 
objective being the Peckham-Maedelstede line, second objective 
the old line at Wytschaete. Zero hour was 7.30 p.m., the attack 
to be in conjunction with the French on the right and Seaforths 
on the left. 

" The attack was most gallantly carried out under very heavy 
machine-gun fire from the front and right flank, and pushed to 
a trench within fifty to one hundred yards of the first objective, 
which was made good. This attack was carried out by the 
battalion after a week's heavy fighting, no sleep the previous 
night, and only partially reorganized after the recent Somme 
fighting. It was carried out with the greatest dash and vigour, 
and only Lieut.-Colonel Bastard's fine leading and the fine spirit 
of all ranks in the face of every difficulty (such as heavy enfilade 
fire from the right because the expected French attack was de- 
layed) enabled the attack to gain the ground it did. The bat- 
talion consolidated the ground won with No. 2 Composite 
Battalion on the left. A Company, 12 /13th Northumberland 
Fusiliers, was attached to the battalion, took part in the attack 
.and behaved splendidly." The battalion was relieved on the 
night of the 1 7th /i 8th, and moved back to Siege Farm whence, 
after resting throughout the 18 th, the march was continued to 
Scottish Camp, Ouderdom. Captain Pritchard, referred to for 
his fine work on the loth-nth April, again behaved most 
gallantly, but died of his wounds. 

The 4th Lincolnshire reached the huts in Locre at 2.30 a.m. 
on the 1 6th, and after a rest it was decided to reorganize the 
battalion on a two-company basis, i.e., A and B became W Com- 
pany under Captain A.H. Clark, C and D became X Company 
. under Lieutenant R.J.W. Andrews. 

Shell shelters were dug in a field in rear of the trenches during 
the evening in case of hostile shelling. The battalion was under 
orders to move to reserve positions at 8 a.m. on the 17th. At 
2 a.m. on the latter date an order was received, placing the 2 /£th 
324 



THE ioth LINCOLNSHIRE L apr. i 7 th, i 9 is 

Lincolnshire (owing to weakness of numbers) under the orders 
of the Officer Commanding 4th Battalion, i.e., Major R.N. 
Holmes. 

At 8 a.m. on the 1 7th the Composite Battalion (now known 
as Major Holmes's Battalion) marched to the assembly positions 
and were ordered to take up positions in a wood about seven 
hundred and fifty yards south of Locre, where companies set to 
work immediately to dig shell shelters. They had, however, 
hardly begun when the enemy shelled the wood violently. The 
wood was then evacuated and positions dug in rear of it. One 
officer of the 2 /5th (2nd Lieutenant J. Fisher) was killed and 
another (2nd Lieutenant V. du Plergny) mortally wounded. 1 
Fifteen other ranks were killed or wounded. At about 11.30 
p.m. "the Composite Battalion was ordered to return to the huts 
in Locre. 

Both on the 1 8th and 19th the battalion moved forward during 
the early morning to the position behind the wood and were 
withdrawn at night. On the 1 8th the 4th sustained a great loss in 
Regimental-Sergeant-Major A. Peasgood, who was wounded : 
he had landed in France with the battalion and had remained 
with it the whole period. 

The ioth Lincolnshire were last mentioned at Haegedoorne 
on the 1 jth, where at nightfall they were dug in on the forward 
slopes of the hill. The morning of the 1 6th was uneventful, 
but during the afternoon there was an ominous increase in 
machine-gun and artillery-fire. At 4.30 p.m. a heavy barrage 
was put down by the enemy on the battalion front-line companies 
and a hostile attack developed against positions held by the ioth 
Lincolnshire along the hedge of a road south-east of the village. 
Three posts on the left came under enfilade fire from the left : 
there were no covering troops for these posts. Two sustained 
direct hits by 4.2-in. shells and the survivors retired on the bat- 
talion. But the Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel Blockley) 
organized a counter-attack, which was launched at 7.30 p.m. 
and succeeded in regaining the posts. The enemy left many 
dead on the ground. 

From 8 a.m. on the 17th until 12 noon a very heavy bombard- 
ment by guns of all calibre was put down on the front and rear 
positions of the Lincolnshire, under cover of which the enemy 
made several determined attacks. He occupied a house south 
of the road and drove in the left advanced post ; three had 
already been obliterated by shell-fire. But the front line held firm 
and the enemy was repulsed with great loss. 

At 4 a.m. on the 18th the worn-out ioth Lincolnshire were 
relieved and moved back to the Croix du Poperinghe line, which, 

x He died at the Casualty Clearing Station. 

325 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

however, was found occupied by many units. The roth, there- 
fore, dug a new line in rear. The battalion was not again 
engaged in the fighting on the Lys, but it had most worthily 
upheld the great traditions of the Lincolnshire Regiment, and 
" First Kemmel " will be remembered by survivors of the ioth 
as a great fight. 1 

(v) The Second Battle of Kemmel: 2$th-26tk April 

Although neither the ist nor the 2nd Lincolnshire attacked the 
enemy in this battle, both battalions were in the area and came 
under shell-fire, suffering further casualties. 

The ist Battalion was at Ottawa Camp until the 25th of April. 
During the previous day companies were reorganized on the 
basis of four platoons per company, but provisionally the bat- 
talion reorganized into two companies of four platoons each in 
order that it could, in case of necessity, go into action before fur- 
ther drafts arrived. No. I Company (A and B) was under 
Captain T.G. Newbury, and No. 2 (C and D) under Captain 
S.B. Edinburgh. 

At about 2.15 a.m. on the 25th a heavy bombardment of the 
Lincolnshire front and support areas broke out, and two hours 
later the battalion was ordered to stand to. At 9 a.m. a move 
was made into position south-east of the Ouderdom-Vlamer- 
tinghe road. Here the battalion remained until 6.30 p»m., 
when orders were received to occupy the General Headquarters 
Second Line from north of Scottish Wood to the south-western 
corner of Ridge Wood, 2 under orders of the 39th Composite 
Brigade. 

The 26th was comparatively quiet until 3 p.m., when the 
enemy's shell-fire, which had been intermittent, suddenly 
developed into a hurricane bombardment of Ridge Wood and 
neighbourhood. The ist Lincolnshire was made up of new 
drafts, most of whom were lads of about twenty. They re- 
mained under heavy shell-fire in very inadequate shelter for several 
hours, and gave a striking example of endurance. The bat- 
talion had seventy-four casualties. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire left Scottish Camp, Ouderdom, also 
on the 25th, and moved to reserve positions near Dickebusch : 
there was desultory fighting from the 25th to the 29th April 
With the Diary there is a slip of paper which gives the losses 
from the nth to the 29th of April, inclusive : 2nd Lieutenant 
R.R. Wilcockson (wounded nth), 2nd Lieutenant G. Shaw 

^ 1 It was during this battle that Sir Douglas Haig's famous order was issued : 
"With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us 
must fight to the end." 

2 About midway between Kemmel and Ypres. 
326 



END OF ATTACKS ON THE LYS [APR . 29TH , i 9 ,g 

(killed 1 2th), Captain R.B. Pritchard and Captain J. H.G. Lilly- 
white (wounded 16th), 2nd Lieutenant L.W. Pacy (wounded 
2,5th), 2nd Lieutenant H.V. Joyce (wounded 27th), 2nd Lieu- 
tenant G.W. Hodge (missing 27th), and 2nd Lieutenant E.V. 
Leach (wounded 29th). In other ranks the losses during this 
period were twenty-two killed, two hundred and ten wounded, 
nine gassed, fifty-two missing — total two hundred and ninety- 
three. 

The German offensive on the Lys ended on the 29th of April : 




GERMAN TROOPS MOVING TO THE FRONT 

the enemy was held as firmly as he had been held on the Somme 
■ — by the splendid valour of the British soldier. 

Practically the whole of the divisions engaged in the fighting 
in the Lys Valley were brought straight from the Somme battle- 
field, where they had suffered severely. " All these divisions, 
without adequate rest and filled with young reinforcements which 
they had had no time to assimilate, were again hurriedly thrown 
into the fight and in spite of the great disadvantages under which 
they laboured, succeeded in holding up the advance of greatly 
superior forces of fresh troops. Such an accomplishment reflects 
the greatest credit on the youth of Great Britain as well as on 
those responsible for the training of the young soldiers sent out 
from home at this time." (Despatch of the 10th July t 191 8, 
•para. 59.) 

The heavy losses sustained by the 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire 

327 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

during the Battles of the Lys were made up from young rein- 
forcements. On the 5th May, however, the 4th and 2 /5th 
Lincolnshire were reduced to Training Cadres, and the 10th 
Lincolnshire suffered the same fate on the 1 ith of the month. 



THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE 1918, 27TH MAY~6TH JUNE 

At the end of April Sir Douglas Haig agreed to place at 
Marshal Foch's disposal five British divisions for employment 
on the Aisne to take the place of French divisions concentrated 
behind Amiens. 

The five Divisions sent south to the Champagne front were 
the 19th, 21st, 25th, 50th and 8th, the first four having been 
engaged already against the German offensives on the Somme and 
on the Lys, and 8th south of the Somme. All had lately been 
filled up with young drafts and were in no condition to take 
part in major operations until they had had several weeks' rest. 
(Despatch of the list December, 1 9 1 8, para. 1 o.) 

The 1st Lincolnshire, with other units of the 62 nd Brigade, 
spent the first three days of May in rest billets in Lederzeele : 
the 2nd Lincolnshire, which had been detached from the brigade 
for a few days, rejoined on the 2nd of the month. 

The 4th, 5th and 6th May saw the transfer of the brigade 
from Flanders to the Romigny area. All units entrained at 
Arques, near St. Omer, to join the Sixth French Army. On 
detraining at-Bouleuse and Salvigny battalions marched to billets 
in the neighbourhood of Lhery, on the 6th. The brigade now 
formed part of the IX. British Corps. 

For a week all ranks enjoyed the comfort of good food and 
well-furnished camps. The weather was- exceptionally fine, so 
that by the time the brigade took over a sector of the line the 
men were quite fit and all ranks had been reorganized and re- 
equipped. Training was also carried out. 

The sector of the line which the 62nd Brigade was to take over 
was held by French Chasseurs a Pied. It was the left sub-sector 
of the 21st Divisional front, which extended from Loivre on the 
right to the south-eastern outskirts of Berry-au-Bac. All three 
brigades of the Division were in the front line, i.e., 64th, 1 ioth, 
and 62nd, from right to left. The front line ran generally be- 
tween the Aisne-Marne Canal and the famous Route 44 — the 
Rheims-Laon-Cambrai road. The main line was between this 
road and the Canal, but east of the latter there was an outpost 
328 



zone. 



BATTLE OF THE AISNE [MA y l9 * 

The Divisional front faced north-east with the 45th 
French Division on the right and the 8 th Division on the left. 
The line was reconnoitred during the 10th and nth, and the 
relations between French and British officers and men were most 
cordial. ' 

On the 1 2th the brigade marched to an area near Vaux 
Varennes, and the following evening the 1st Lincolnshire and 




/<SF " Seals 

JlMery-Premecy HwHTS m McrRES 



3 Miles 

j 



THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE, igi8 



the 1 2 /13th Northumberland Fusiliers relieved the 66th and 
50th Chasseurs respectively in the right and left sub-sectors, 
while the 2nd Lincolnshire relieved the 71st Battalion Chasseurs, 
in reserve at Chalons-la-Vergeur. 

The situation in the line is thus described in the Brigade 
Diary : " From the time the Brigadier assumed command of 

3 2 9 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the sector- on the 14th till the commencement of the second 
battle of the Aisne at 1 a.m. on May the 27th, the enemy dis- 
played very little activity in any area." 

The 1 st Battalion took over the Moulin de Cormicy sub- 
sector on the 1 3th, but until the 1 9th there is nothing of interest 
to record. On that date, however, a patrol of one officer and 
five other ranks encountered a German patrol from twenty to 
thirty strong apparently sent to raid one of the Lincolnshire 
posts. The enemy was dispersed with Lewis gun fire. 

On the 21st the 2nd Battalion relieved the 1st, the latter 
marching back to " A " Camp at Chalons-la- Vergeur. 

The intimation of an imminent great hostile attack is contained 
in the Diary of the 1st Battalion for the 26th of May : " At 8 
p.m., a warning was received that an attack on a large scale was 
expected the following morning, to be preceded by a gas bom- 
bardment beginning at 1 a.m. All ranks were warned and gas 
guards posted." 

This information was given by German prisoners captured by 
the XI. French Corps on the left of the British. Besides this, 
our troops reported daily the arrival of reconnoitring parties of 
German officers, and the sound of guns being brought up every 
night. 

The information was correct, for at 1 a.m. on the .27th of 
May a terrific bombardment by guns of every calibre opened on 
the front and back areas of the whole, Corps sector. Both high- 
explosive and gas shells were used in great quantities, the 
heaviest concentration being on the main line of resistance. The 
bombardment continued until about 4 a.m., when the enemy 
attacked under a thick smoke screen and mist as well. 

Of the fate of the 2nd Lincolnshire, on the right of the brigade 
front, there are no details, only the brief story as related in the 
Battalion Diary. Having launched his attack the enemy 
apparently broke through the line of posts held by the battalion, 
which seems to have been almost immediately surrounded, two 
officers and about thirty other ranks only getting away. The 
nucleus party and transport moved back to a point (approximately) 
one and a half miles south-east of Bouvancourt. At 10 p.m. the 
enemy were reported in Bouvancourt. Transport continued the 
retirement. Brigade nucleus parties, under command of Major 
Winter, Northumberland Fusiliers, after covering the retirement, 
moved to Pevy. 

On the 28th, at 6 a.m., a defensive position was taken up on 
the high ground east of Prouilly. This position, though heavily 
attacked, was held until the evening, when the whole Force was 
ordered to withdraw across the Vesle River. The brigade 
nucleus party was then ordered to defend a portion of the river, 
330 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [mat 27 th, i 9 is 

and a line of posts were occupied about one mile east of Muizon. 
This line was held until 7.30 p.m. on the 29th." 

On the 29th : " The enemy made repeated attacks during the 
day, but were held off until evening. About 7 p.m. a heavy- 
enemy bombardment commenced. This lasted till 7.30. p.m. 
when the line gave way on both flanks. The brigade nucleus 
party was almost enveloped before this was discovered, but 
managed to withdraw under cover of the woods and after re- 
forming, marched to Mery-Premecy." 

Meanwhile the 1 st Lincolnshire, when the gas shelling began 
on the 27th, put on their gas masks and moved to assembly 
positions soon after 5 a.m. Just before 6 a.m. the enemy was 
reported to have gained a footing in the front line on the left of 
the brigade sector (held by the Northumberland Fusiliers). At 
6.20 the battalion moved off — A and B Companies (Captain 
Samuelson and Lieutenant Carr) to the northern side of the 
Chalons-la- Vergeur— Cormicy road, covering La Chapelle, C and 
D Companies (Lieutenants Swaby and Tapsell) to the southern 
side of the road covering Cormicy, Battalion Headquarters on 
the same road in dug-outs near Brigade Headquarters. 

Chalons-la-Vergeur was practically surrounded by wooded 
country, the village itself being near the south-western edge of 
a large forest which lay south-west of Cormicy. The road to 
the latter village lay through the woods. Only between Route 
44 and Cormicy was the country clear of woods, but even that 
was a country of valleys and hills. The righting, therefore, in 
which the Lincolnshire was to be involved, was to be difficult. 

Very soon after the battalion had taken up positions a battalion 
was reported to have withdrawn from the front line, i.e., the left 
sub-sector of the brigade front. The Lincolnshire, therefore, 
formed a defensive flank on the left, the left of the battalion 
being in touch with some French Territorials who had been 
moved up to support. The defensive flank, under Captain 
Samuelson, was formed only just in time to prevent the enemy 
gaining a foothold in the wood. In the meantime, the enemy 
attacked north of Cormicy, but was repulsed with heavy losses. 
By 1 p.m. the situation became acute : the enemy had broken 
through and had completely worked round the left flank. _ On the 
right he had occupied Cormicy, where C and D Companies, after 
smashing three successive attacks, had been compelled to with- 
draw to another position. At 3 p.m., the battalion was ordered 
to fall back on the line of the Cormicy-Chalons-la-Vergeur road, 
as both flanks were in the air. A line was then formed facing 
north-west and continued along the line by the 4th Staffords. 
Here the enemy was held until 8 p.m. At that hour, however, 
Battalion Headquarters received a message that C and D 

331 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Companies on the right were being hard pressed and that the 
Germans had worked completely round the left flank, occupying 
Chalons-la-Vergeur. The Lincolnshire were, therefore, almost 
surrounded and only a quick withdrawal could save them. Under 
cover of a rearguard which kept the enemy at bay, the battalion 
was extricated, and after getting clear of the Chalons-la-Vergeur 
road moved via Vaux Varennes to high ground near the Ferme 
de l'Epinette, north-east of Pevy. The time was now i a.m., 
28th. Touch was obtained with the remainder of the brigade. 

Soon after dawn on the 28th hostile patrols were observed 
approaching from the north-west,. but no frontal attack was made 
on the Lincolnshire, who held their ground until, both flanks 
being completely exposed, another withdrawal became necessary. 
At about 8 a.m., therefore, the battalion again fell back to the 
Butte de Prouilly, a steep ridge due east of Prouilly, where a 
skeleton position had already been taken up by the battalion 
nucleus party under Major Vickers. This party formed part 
of a composite battalion which had been formed out of the 
brigade nucleus parties 1 and stragglers, and sent to the Butte 
by order of the 62nd Brigade Commander. The Lincolnshire 
held the most northerly sector of the hill, with a French unit 
on the right and the remainder of the 62 nd Brigade on the left. 

But the enemy had followed up quickly, and covered by 
machine-gun. and close-range artillery-fire, pressed his attack.' 
At first he made no progress, all his attempts being repulsed. 
Then he tried pushing forward small parties with machine-guns 
and by 3 p.m. had driven the troops on the left from the forward 
slopes of the hill. At 4.30 p.m. he tried to carry the ridge, but 
failed. Again he tried the system of pushing small parties for- 
ward with machine-guns over the crest and under cover of the 
crops, which at that period covered the country. All these 
attempts broke down under the fire of advanced posts. A small 
redoubt, under 2nd Lieutenant Clarkson, which had gallantly 
maintained itself all day in an exposed position on the forward 
slope of the hill, was largely responsible for the repulse of the 
enemy. 

In the meantime, at 3 p.m. all other British troops on the hill 
had withdrawn and the line was consequently very weak. At 
7 p.m. the Brigade Commander ordered the Lincolnshire to 
withdraw to the line of the Vesle River. The French on the 
right of the battalion had not, however, received their withdrawal 

1 Nucleus parties consisted often per cent, of the whole battalion, i.e., officers and other 
ranks. They were usually commanded by the second-in-command and kept back at the 
transport lines^ while a battalion went into the line. The system was introduced in order 
to save a certain number of senior officers and n.c.o.s should a battalion become deci- 
mated in an attack. Major E.E.F. Baker commanded the 2nd Battalion nucleus 
party. 

332 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [may 3 oth, i 9 i8 

orders and it was not until our allies reported themselves ready 
that the Lincolnshire fell back, the time being about 9.30 p.m. 
The battalion then withdrew to Tuileries and reported to Brigade 
Headquarters and was placed on the high ground above Sapi- 
court in support of two other battalions of the brigade holding 
the line of the Vesle. 1 

At 1 1 a.m. the next morning (29th) troops on the left of the 
Lincolnshire were seen to be withdrawing, and an hour later 
the battalion was ordered to form a defensive flank on Hill 202. 
This was done though under very heavy shell-fire. At 2 p.m. 
the enemy attacked the hill, but was repulsed. He then em- 
ployed his usual tactics of working round the flanks and by 4 p.m. 
got so far round the left flank that he could sweep the reverse 
slope of the hill with machine-gun fire. By 5 p.m. he was 
reported in Treslon and had also gained the crest of Hill 202 
on the right of the Lincolnshire sector, after having first driven 
back the French troops. On the left also French troops were 
completely outflanked and compelled to fall back. 

Once again the ist Lincolnshire by a very gallant rearguard 
action had given material assistance to the retirement of the 
whole division, and of neighbouring divisions. 

The ist Lincolnshire now numbered only about seventy all 
ranks. They had for three days withstood the onslaughts of 
vastly superior numbers of the enemy, and had beaten them 
again, and again, but now, terribly weak as they were, it was 
impossible to hold on, and so they withdrew, taking up a position 
on a sunken road between Germigny and Bouleuse. The 
remnants of this gallant battalion reached their new position at 
7 p.m. : they numbered then only eight officers and forty-two 
other ranks. At 9.30 p.m. orders were received to report to 
Brigade Headquarters at Mery-Premecy, and when that had been 
done, all ranks, tired and worn out, were allowed a few hours' 
rest. 

Although the Lincolnshire were on the road again at 2 a.m. 
on the 30th of May en route to Marfaux, their part in the Battle 
of the Aisne 191 8 was not over. They reached Marfaux at 
6.30 a.m., found their transport waiting for them and a hot meal 
available. Then at 1 1.30 a.m., they marched to Damery, which 
was reached at about 6 p.m. On the 31st they moved to 

1 The narrative of the 62nd Brigade Headquarters states : " Our men maintained their 
positions on the ridge and fought a splendid rearguard action to positions behind the River 
Vesle, a withdrawal necessitated by the situation on the right. The last to leave the posi- 
tion on the hill were the ist Xincolnshire Regiment, under Lieut.-Colonel Gush, M.C., 
who were the right flank of the brigade. They did not arrive south of the Vesle until 
11 p.m. Their tenacious fighting had completely deceived the enemy, who imagined 
the line still held intact along the whole spur, and this fact enabled the remnants of the 
other units to withdraw, reorganise and take up position preparatory to the fresh German 
advance." 

333 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Soulieres, arriving at 3.30 p.m. En route they marched past the 
Divisional Commander, who congratulated Colonel Gush on the 
magnificent fight which the 1st Battalion had put up during the 
previous three days. At 7.30 p.m. an order was received from 
Brigade Headquarters to provide seven officers and one hundred 
and eighty-seven other ranks to form part of the 62nd Composite 
Battalion, which was returning to hold the line of the Marne 
River early the following morning. Major Yickers commanded 
this battalion. Several small parties had rejoined which had 
been absorbed into other units during the recent operations but, 
all told, the 1st Lincolnshire could not muster more than one 
hundred and eighty other ranks. Only seven officers and one 
hundred and sixty-eight other ranks could, therefore, be pro- 
vided, and these left Soulieres at 8 a.m. on the 1st of June to 
form part of the 21st Independent Brigade. 

The skeleton of the battalion left behind marched to Ville 
Venard on the 3rd of June to Beauvais le Houe on the 9th, and 
entrained at Sezanne on the 14th for Longpre ; Finally, the 
battalion marched to Andainville on the 17th. The following 
day a draft of three hundred and five other ranks arrived : all 
practically came from the 1 /5th Lincolnshire, which had just 
previously been reduced to a training cadre. 

On the 20th the party sent to join the 21st Independent Bri- 
gade retured. It had not been involved in any infantry action 
and, barring shell-fire, the period spent away from the battalion 
was uneventful. 

Following a move to Rieux on the 21st of June the 1st 
Lincolnshire settled down for a few days training and reorganiza- 
tion until the end of the month. On the 30th Lieut.-Colonel 
H.W. Gush handed over command of the battalion to Lieut.- 
Colonel M.N. Irwin (Essex Regiment). 

_ What remained of the 2nd Lincolnshire passed through a 
similar experience. From Mery-Premecy they also marched to 
Marfaux and Soulieres. But they were so weak in numbers 
that only four officers and fifty-eight other ranks could be pro- 
vided on the 1 st of June for the 2 1st Independent Brigade, which 
held the line of the Marne from the 1st to the 19th of June. 
There was no fighting. 

Battalion Headquarters and the small nucleus party of the 
2nd Battalion left behind, moved also to Ville Venard (where, on 
the 5th, Lieut.-CoIonel E.P. Lloyd arrived and assumed com- 
mand, vice Major E.E.F. Baker, Middlesex Regiment), Beau- 
vais and Sezanne, entraining at the latter place for Longpre 
(15th June) whence, on arrival, they marched to Hallencourt. 
Another move, on this occasion to Aumatre, where on the 19th 
fifteen officers and five hundred and seventy-four other ranks as 
334 



CASUALTIES ON THE AISNE [MAY t 9t t 

reinforcements joined, was followed by a march to Bazinval on 
the 22nd and Melleville on the 23rd, where the remainder of 
the month was spent. The party from the 21st Independent 
Brigade rejoined on the 1 9th at Aumatre. 

In the Battle of the Aisne 191 8 the officer casualties 
suffered by the 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire were as follows : 1st 
Battalion — Lieutenant R.M. Carr, 2nd Lieutenants J.G. Pippet, 
P.D. Brock killed ; Major the Hon. H.W. Littleton, Captain 
F.M. Upson, 2nd Lieutenants G.B. Clarkson, A.H. Breese, F. 
Guthrie, F.R. Ellis, F.R.A. Mott and S.W. Dove wounded ; 
2nd Lieutenants J. Higgins and H.G. Calver missing. The 
Battalion Medical Officer (Captain S.H, Moore, Royal Army 
Medical Corps) was also among the missing. 1 The 2nd Bat- 
talion had two officers wounded (Lieutenant F.F. Davies and 
2nd Lieutenant W.E. Deavin), one wounded and missing 
(2nd Lieutenant H.W. Hartley) and the following officers 
missing — Lieut.-Colonel R. Bastard, Captains J.T. Preston, H. 
Marshall, G.R. Holliday, Lieutenant G. Matson and 2nd 
Lieutenants F. Donell, F. Havers, G. Race, M.D. Grieve, V. 
Nocton, S.G. Sole, A.R. Brady, E.L. Jones, B.W. Pye, LJ. 
Turner and R.W. Ogersy. The Battalion Medical Officer 
(Lieutenant A. McCormick) was also among the missing. 

No records exist of the losses in other ranks. 2 



1 The Brigade Headquarters Diary also notes Lieutenant J.E. Tillett as " missing," 
but as " Officers killed in the War " records that he was killed in action on the roth of 
October, 191 8, it is probable he rejoined the battalion before (or after) the Aisne operations 
were over. 

a The 62nd Brigade Diary gives the total losses of the brigade as fifty-two killed, two 
hundred and thirty-nine wounded, and eight hundred and eighty-two missing. 

335 



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PART NINE 
THE ADVANCE TO VICTORY 



THIS IS A BLANK PAGE 



THE TIDE TURNS [A uk. I9l8 

I 

THE BATTLE OF AMIENS : 8TH-I ITH AUGUST, I918 

FOLLOWING on the breakdown of the German attacks on 
the Lys, two periods ensued along the British front which 
Sir Douglas Haig refers to as (i) the period of Active De- 
fence, during which reorganization of the whole line took place, 
(ii) the period of Offensive Action, which finally ended in the 
complete defeat of the German Armies. 1 

On the British front the first objectives were disengagement 
of Amiens and the freeing of the Paris-Amiens railway. 

The plan of the Amiens operation was to strike in an easterly 
and south-easterly direction, using the Somme River to cover 
the left flank of the advance with the object of gaining the line 
of the Amiens outer defences between Le Quesnel and Mericourt- 
sur-Somme. 

The Battle of Amiens took place on the 8 th of August, "the 
Black Day of the German Army," 2 and was a splendid success, 
all objectives being gained, and by the 13th nearly twenty-two 
thousand prisoners and over four hundred guns had been 
captured. 

In this battle the 7th Lincolnshire Regiment was in the battle 
area, the 1 7th Division being in General Headquarters Reserve. 

The 7th Lincolnshire were last mentioned on the 5th of April 
at Mirvfaux. They did not return to the front line until the 
15th, when the 17th Division relieved the 63rd Division in the 
line from Aveluy Wood-Mesnil, the battalion taking over the 
line from the Artists' Rifles. On that date 2nd Lieutenant T. 
Penn and two other ranks were killed and fourteen other ranks 
wounded. The enemy were active and before the Lincolnshire 
were relieved on the 30th they had lost many men. 2nd 
Lieutenant A.R.E. Outwin was wounded on the 22nd and 2nd 
Lieutenant J.E. Hedges on the 27th. On relief the battalion 
marched to Forceville, where training was carried out until a 
move was made to Acheux on the 10th of May, Talmas on the 
1 8 th and Puchvillers on the 20th. Of actual fighting there was 
little, for the enemy also had to recuperate after his violent efforts 
of March and April. Colonel Metcalfe returned to the battalion 
on the 14th of June and Major Peddie reverted to second-in- 
command. 

On the 1st of August the 7th were north of Bouzincourt in 
Brigade Reserve, but that night sent a raiding party into the front 
line consisting of 2nd Lieutenants Crisp and Maxwell, and forty 

1 Despatc/b of the 21st Dec, 1918, Paris I and II. 

2 General Ludendorff' s description. 

339 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

other ranks. The raid was fruitless as the enemy's trenches were 
found to be empty, but both officers were wounded. 

On the 8 th, when the Battle of Amiens opened, the Lincoln- 
shire were at Touten court, but under sudden orders the 51st 
Brigade Group moved out of that area and joined the Fourth 
Army on the Somme, being attached to the Australian Corps, 
the battalion billeting at La Motte. On the 10th they moved 
to Vaux-sur-Somme and on the night of the 12th /13th relieved 
Australian troops at Proyart. The relief was not without loss 
for Lieutenant R.C. Lluellyn was killed and 2nd Lieutenant S.J. 
Eastmead wounded. 

The Battle of Amiens was the prelude to three months of 
brilliant fighting, first in entrenched positions and then in open 
warfare, the British Armies, with their Allies, advancing without 
a check from one victory to another. 



II 

THE SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME, I918 

(i) The Battle of Albert, 191 8 : ii.st-Q.yrd August 

On the 2 1 st of August a limited attack north of the Ancre 
to gain the general line of the Arras-Albert railway was launched 
at 4.55 a.m. by the Third Army. The front of attack extended 
for about nine miles from Miraumont to Moyenneville In this 
battle the 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th Lincolnshire were engaged. 

Five Divisions delivered the opening assault, of which the 
37th was one, the 8th Lincolnshire of the 63rd Brigade support- 
ing the 8 th Somerset (the left front-line battalion of the brigade), ■ 
which attacked the enemy's main line of resistance, which ran 
in a north-easterly direction from south-east of Bucquoy to 
Ablainzeville. 

The 8 th Battalion had, from the close of the German offensive 
on the Somme, taken their part in what Sir Douglas Haig called 
the " period of active defence," but up to the time of the assault 
on the 2 1st of August there is little of interest in the battalion 
Diary. From the 5th of April to " Y " day (day before zero 
day) the battalion still held trenches in the Bucquoy sector (west 
of the village), or was billeted in rest areas behind the lines. 1 
One entry in the diary, however, cannot be passed over : on 
the 10th of July it is announced that the Battalion Padre — the 

1 Casualties in officers during the period were 2nd Lieutenant F.L. Woollatt (wounded 
1 5M tS )t *nd Lieutenant J.R. Bousfield (-wounded 29/4/18), 2nd Lieutenant Naylor 
(wounded 17/7 /18). 

340 



THE 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [A uo. *oth, i 9 is 

Rev. T. Bayley Hardy, D.S.O., M.C.— had been awarded the 
VX. " for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on 
many occasions." There were four dates upon which the brave 
Chaplain's conduct was specially brought to notice, i.e., £th, 
25th, 26th and 27th of April, 1918, 

Although over fifty years of age Padre Hardy's fearlessness 
and devotion to men of his battalion, and quiet unobtrusive 
manner, won the respect and admiration of the whole Division. 
His marvellous energy and endurance would have been remark- 
able even in a very much younger man. His valour and devo- 
tion are exemplified in the following incidents : an infantry 
patrol had gone out to attack a German post on the ruins of a 
village and Padre Hardy, being then at Company Headquarters 
and hearing firing, followed the patrol. About four hundred 
yards from our front line he found an officer of the patrol danger- 
ously wounded, with whom he remained until assistance could 
be obtained to carry the officer in. During the period there was 
a good deal of firing and a hostile patrol actually penetrated be- 
tween the spot where the officer was lying and our front line. 
On the second occasion after a shell had exploded in the middle 
of one of the battalion's posts, the Rev. Hardy made his way to 
the spot despite the shell and trench-mortar fire going on all 
the time. On arriving at the post he set to work to extricate the 
buried men and got one man out alive who had been completely 
buried : a second man, when he was extricated, was dead. 
During the whole of the time he was digging the Chaplain was in 
great danger not only from shell-fire but from the dangerous 
condition of a wall which had been hit by the shell which buried 
the men. On a third occasion, with an n.c.o., he carried a 
wounded man back to our lines. Absolutely regardless of his 
own safety, he frequently tended the wounded under artillery, 
machine-gun and trench-mortar fire which caused many casual- 
ties. 1 

On the 20th of August the 8th Lincolnshire moved forward 
to their assembly positions west of Bucquoy. Their orders for 
the attack on the 2 1st were — two companies to follow the reserve 
companies of the 8th Somerset and, unless they were required 
to take part in the attack, consolidate a line of posts along the 
enemy's outpost line after the latter had been captured. The 
remaining companies were to move forward and occupy a line 
of posts in Brigade Reserve. 

The attack, which took place at 4.55 a.m., on the 21st, went 
splendidly. All objectives were captured and a line east of 
Bucquoy was consolidated. The 5th Division then passed 
through the 37th to capture a further objective. 

1 The Rev. T.B. Hardy died of wounds on the 18th of October. 

341 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The 8th Lincolnshire were not called upon to attack the 
enemy, though the battalion was under heavy shell-fire all day : 
casualties were, however, light — three other ranks killed and 
six wounded. 

Meanwhile, on the right of the attack, the 2 ist Division 
(V. Corps) had been ordered to cover the right of the attack 
of the IV. Corps by clearing the northern bank of the Ancre 
about Beaucourt. In this attack the ist and 2nd Lincolnshire 
took part, 

Both the ist and 2nd Battalions had passed almost the whole 
of July out of the line training, for the reinforcements received 




THE SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME 



(excepting those from the 2 /5th Lincolnshire) were mostly young 
soldiers. But on the 28th the two battalions took over front-line 
trenches east of Mailly Maillet. 

On the 7th of August the 2nd Lincolnshire raided the enemy's 
trenches, but found them empty. This raid, though abortive, 
was nevertheless instructive to those who had never before 
advanced under a barrage. 

The ist Lincolnshire were to raid the Germans, and began 
training on the nth of August, but on the .14th the enemy 
evacuated his positions in Beaumont Hamel, Serre and Puisieux, 
but still held the left bank of the Ancre as far north as Beaucourt. 
Second Lieutenant P.J. Baldwin was wounded on this day. 

On the 1 8 th the enemy, having first shelled the outpost line, 
attempted a daylight raid on the left front of the 2nd Battalion. 
About one hundred Germans advanced, but fell back when fired 
342 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [ATO . 2 oth, t 9 is 

on. About this date Company Commander, Captain H.W. 
Firth was captured after visiting the right forward post. An 
easy thing to happen as only a " stop " in the trench divided our 
line from that of the Germans, which continued along the same 
trench down to the river. He was reported missing. Some 
weeks elapsed before we heard he was a prisoner. 

■Orders for. the attack on the 21st were issued on the 20th. 
The 2 1 st Division, in co-operation with bigger operations on the 
flanks, was to capture (i) Beaucourt, (ii) prolong the right of the 
attack of the Division on the left, (iii) endeavour to exploit 
success south of the River Ancre. 

Operations (i) and (ii) were to be carried out simultaneously 
by the 62 nd Brigade under a creeping barrage at zero hour, 
known as " Z.i " : at " Z.2 " the 1 10th Brigade was to carry 
out operation (iii). Two companies of the 2nd Lincolnshire 
were to carry out operation (i), while to the 1st Battalion was 
allotted operation (ii). 

The success of the initial attack in the 21st Division area and 
the possibility of carrying out the further phases of the operations 
depended to a great extent on the capture of Beaucourt. 

The village (a mere heap of rubble) was on the right flank of 
the outpost line held by the 2nd Lincolnshire. On the night 
of the 20th /21st August the 2nd Battalion held the following 
positions : C Company (right outpost) on the slopes between 
the Beaucourt and Serre roads, north-west of Beaucourt ; B 
Company on the high ground along the Beaucourt-Serre road 
on the left of C Company : B and C Companies each had piquets 
in shell-hole posts ; A and D Companies were in support south 
of Beaumont Hamel. The enemy held a line of posts about 
three hundred yards in front of C and B Companies, _ with a 
machine-gun post in Luminous Avenue, a trench which ran 
parallel with, and south of, the Beaucourt road. 

About 9 p.m. the enemy made a determined attempt to rush 
the left piquet of B Company. The strength of the hostile 
party was about fifty. They attempted to rush both flanks, but 
were met by a steady fire. 2nd Lieutenant A. Farman then 
took a party out to the left flank, but as soon as they emerged 
from the post the Germans at once withdrew. Just after mid- 
night A and D Companies in support were heavily gas-shelled 
until 2.15 a.m. This shelling considerably interfered with the 
two companies which had been detailed for the attack. Several 
men were seriously gassed, but the remainder, though all were 
suffering from the effects of the gas, carried on. 

By 5.35 a.m. on the 21st, A and D Companies were ready 
formed up in their assembly positions, which ran from north-east 
to south-west across Luminous. Avenue : a bombing party from 

343 



HISTORY OF . THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

C Company was between the inner flanks of the two companies 
At zero hour a hurricane barrage fell, and in addition a Stokes gun 
barrage was placed on the enemy's front, covering Beaucourt, 
and selected targets. This fire was very well directed, driving 
the enemy into his deep dug-outs. Simultaneously with the 
barrage A and D Companies advanced to the attack. The Diary 
states that : "So eager were the men that they were able to keep 
close up to the fast-moving barrage." The bombing party from 
C Company rushed the hostile post, capturing eight prisoners 
and a machine-gun. A Company advanced along Luminous 
Avenue and met with little opposition until reaching Railway 
Road (on the northern bank of the Ancre), where machine-gun 
fire temporarily held up the advance. A Lewis gun section, 
however, was brought into action and the enemy retired. The 
Company then moved forward to the railway, which was con- 
solidated. 

D Company, keeping Luminous Avenue on their left, ad- 
vanced without difficulty. The leading wave dashed ahead and 
reached Railway Road : the two platoons following encountered 
many Germans coming out of the numerous deep dug-outs on 
all sides. These were bombed and many taken prisoners. One 
party of the enemy was seen on the right flank in Railway Road, 
and these, after being fired on by Lewis guns, surrendered. 

Since the movements of the remainder of the 21st Division 
depended on the capture of Beaucourt, it was essential that news 
of the success of the attack should reach the Headquarters of the 
Division as early as possible. Visual communication was impos- 
sible on account of the early morning mist, and lack of light. 
" Runners " could not be depended on owing to heavy shelling, 
and the difficulty of getting through gas-contaminated areas ; 
and in any case would have been too slow. Carrier pigeons were 
therefore used and delivered their message within a few minutes 
of the capture of the village. They were released by battalion 
signallers, and anxious moments followed in wondering whether 
they would be able to carry out their mission in spite of darkness,, 
mist and shell fumes. 

There was a short delay in Beaucourt while dug-outs were 
searched and small parties of the enemy .rounded up : the 
platoons then advanced to the railway. A Company then set to 
work to consolidate the line of the railway, while D Company 
formed a support line along Railway Road. Three German 
officers and ninety other ranks were captured by the 2nd Lin- 
colnshire, in this attack. 

At 2 p.m., the two companies holding the outpost line (B and 
C) were ordered to advance to the line reached by the ist 
Battalion, and attack through the latter. 
344 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [ATO . „», X9t « 

Meanwhile the ist Lincolnshire advanced in accordance with 
the order to prolong the attack of the 42nd Division on their left. 
The battalion's first objective was a sunken road running north- 
west from Baillescourt Farm (north-east of Beaucourt) : the ist 
Lincolnshire were, therefore, on the left of the 2nd Battalion. 

At 3 a.m. 2 1 st August, companies formed up in their pre- 
liminary assembly positions in Wagon Road (the road between 
Beaumont Hamel and Serre), B and D formed the first wave, 
C and A the second wave. By zero, companies were formed up 
in their assembly positions, i.e., Serre road, due east of Wagon 
road. 

At zero the battalion advanced and reached a ravine (probably 
the Puisieux road) without opposition : a few prisoners were 
taken en route. But now hostile machine-gun fire came from a 
line of German trenches ahead. C Company was then sent 
down the ravine to attack north-east through the Bois d'Hollande 
and gain touch with D Company attacking ahead. A Company 
was also sent south to support C, B being withdrawn to support 
D Company. 

On the left D Company successfully gained touch with the 
42nd Division. On the right C Company reached a line north 
and south through the line of trenches previously mentioned, 
but was then held up by machine-gun fire. 

The ist Lincolnshire received orders that two companies of 
the 2nd Battalion (referred to above) would be attached and were 
to advance through the battalion and capture a road running 
north-west from the southern outskirts of Miraumont. The 
attack by B and C Companies of the 2nd Lincolnshire reached 
the sunken road running north-west from Baillescourt Farm, and 
here they halted and consolidated. 1 

Thus Beaucourt had fallen again into our hands, never to be 
taken from us again. The official despatch records the assistance 
this success afforded : "The 21st Division of the V. Corps 
assisted by clearing the north bank of the Ancre about Beaucourt, 
and as a result of the whole operation the positions we, required 
from which to launch our principal attack were gained success- 
fully with over two thousand prisoners." 

On the 13th August the 7th Lincolnshire held trenches in 
front of Mericourt, but were relieved by Australian troops on the 
1 6th and moved to billets in Fouilloy. The three days had been 
expensive : on the 13th 2nd Lieutenant F.W. Daulton was 
wounded and on the following day three other ranks were killed,, 
ten wounded and three missing. The enemy shelled the line 
heavily with gas on the 15th and Major T.A. Peddie, Captain 
and Adjutant G.J. Walley, 2nd Lieutenant W.J. Blake and 

1 Lieutenant G.P. Walton was killed during this advance. 

345 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Lieutenant E. Cansfield, Royal Army Medical Corps (the 
Battalion Medical Officer) and no less than one hundred and ten 
other ranks were " gassed." Several moves followed the march 
to Fouilloy, and on the 21st when the battle opened the 7th 
Battalion (with the 51st Brigade Group) reached Hedauville, 
where they bivouacked east of the village, under short notice 
to move forward. The 1 7th Division was detailed as " Exploiting 
Division," but made no advance between the 2ist-23rd August. 
Hedauville is about two miles north-west of Albert. 

The limited attack north of the An ere on the 21st, having 
gained its objectives, the 22nd was used for getting fresh troops 
and guns into position, and advancing the left of the Fourth 
Army between the Somme and the Ancre. The principal attack 
was launched on the 23rd by the Third Army and those divisions 
of the Fourth Army north of the Somme. 

Neither the 1st nor the 2nd Lincolnshire moved on the 22nd : 
the 64th Brigade made good the crossing of the Ancre from 
Grandcourt to Beaucourt. 

The 8th Lincolnshire on the 22nd moved into the valley east 
of Ablainzeville. At 1 1 a.m. on the 23rd the battalion advanced 
in a south-easterly direction as left support to the 1 1 ith Brigade, 
which was attacking Achiet-le-Grand and Bihucourt, finally 
establishing itself in trenches north of the latter village. At 
5.30 p.m. an attempt to advance through the outpost line and 
gain further ground east was met by violent machine-gun fire, 
and the battalion was forced to fall back to its original position. 

The advance began again on the morning of the 24th of 
August. The 17th, 21st and 37th Divisions pushed on and 
the four Lincolnshire battalions once again fought their way 
across a portion of the old German battlefields of 1 9 1 6 and 1 9 1 7. 
Over the very ground which witnessed the great retreat of the 
Third Army in March 19 18, the enemy was driven back to the 
Hindenburg Line. 

The 7th Lincolnshire (in brigade) marched in battle order via 
Mailly Maillet, Auchonvillers, thence over our old front line, 
Hamel, then crossing the Ancre and bivouacking on the eastern 
bank. East of Thiepval, at 8.30 p.m., it took up an assembly 
position in artillery formation on the northern side of the 
Pozieres-Thiepval road. At 10.30 p.m., as right front bat- 
talion of the 51st Brigade, it advanced due east to Courcelette. 
Beyond the latter village it was held up by machine-gun fire and 
took position north-west of Martinpuich, at 5 a.m. on the 25th. 

On the left of the 17th Division the 21st also advanced. B 
and D Companies of the 1st Lincolnshire relieved the 1st East 
Yorks along the avenue north of Graincourt on the night of the 
23rd — A and C Companies were in reserve in the sunken road 
346 



FOUR LINCOLNSHIRE BATTALIONS [A uo. * s ™, , 9 i8 

running north from Beaucourt. The 64th Brigade attacked 
south of the Ancre and at 9 a.m. on the 24th, the Lincolnshire 
concentrated north of the river^ just west of Bois d'Hollande. 
An hour later they moved to the Ravine, south-east of Grand- 
court, where they remained all day until about 4.30 p.m., when 
they moved to Boom Ravine, south of Miraumpnt. Finally, 
they concentrated in the East Miraumont road (south-west of 
Pys) with a view to a further advance in the morning, the 1 10th 
Brigade having been ordered to make good the ground west of 
Le Sars during the night of the 24th /25th. 

At 2 p.m. on the 24th, B and C Companies of the 2nd Lincoln- 
shire, with Battalion Headquarters, moved across the Ancre, also 
to the Boom Ravine and finally took up position on the left of the 
1st Battalion. 

The 8th Lincolnshire, passed the night of the 23rd in trenches 
north of Bihucourt, moved forward at 4.30 a.m. on the 24th and 
assembled on a general line on the eastern edge of the village 
with the object of pushing north-east of Biefvillers. At 2 p.m. 
they moved round the south-western edge of Bihucourt into a 
valley south-east, assembling there with the intention of estab- 
lishing a line from Bihucourt to Biefvillers. The move was, 
apparently, successful for at night the battalion was astride the 
road between the two villages, with the Middlesex and Somerset 
on their right. Dawn broke on the 25th with heavy mist which 
lasted until nearly 7 a.m. But long before that hour battalions 
were again advancing. 

The 7th Lincolnshire, pushing eastwards from Courcelette, 
reached a line crossing a spur north-east of Martinpuich ; from 
this position they again advanced and at nightfall held a north 
and south line south of Eaucourt TAbbaye. Twice they were 
counter-attacked by the enemy, but on each occasion the enemy 
was easily repulsed. 

There are no records of the battalion's losses in other ranks on 
the 25th, but in officers they lost 2nd Lieutenant CD. Naylor 
(killed) and 2nd Lieutenants J.H. Gouldby, J.G. Harrison and 
H.R. Tobin wounded : 2nd Lieutenant T.A. Grunale was 
slightly wounded but remained at duty. 

With the sunken road running south from Le Barque as their 
first objective, the 1st Lincolnshire advanced at 6 a.m., C Company 
leading with three fighting patrols distributed over the battalion 
frontage, followed by B and D Companies in lines of platoons in 
artillery formation : A Company was in Battalion Reserve. On 
the high ground west of Le Sars the advance was held up by 
machine-gun fire, which came mostly from a spur between the 
village and Warlencourt. The artillery were asked to barrage the 
line Le Sars-Destremont Farm from 10.30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 

347 



HISTORY OF THfe LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the brigade caused a Stokes mortar to fire on the most active of 
the enemy machine-guns. The latter were silenced and the 
enemy withdrew, but, as the guns put down a barrage at 1 1 a.m., 
the battalion could not advance, and lack of communication made 
it impossible to cancel the barrage. 

At 1 1 a.m. (when the guns lifted their fire) the advance was 
continued and the final objective reached at about 12.30 p.m. 
without serious opposition. There was, however, a gap of about 
one thousand yards between the right of the battalion and the 
left of the 1 7th Division, which had been held up, and to cover 
this, A Company was echeloned to the right of B Company. The 
gap was filled by other troops during the night of the 25th /26th. 
A hostile counter-attack which developed during the night was 
repulsed, the left of D Company co-operating. B and C Com- 
panies of the 2nd Lincolnshire followed in rear of the 1st Bat- 
talion, and although the morning was misty, direction was main- 
tained. The Battalion Diary records that " a feature of this 
advance was the fast pace at which the battalion moved." 

When the two leading battalions were held up west of Le Sars, 
C Company of the 2nd Lincolnshire sent out a patrol which gained 
touch with the 7th Lincolnshire, of the 1 7th Division, in Cource- 
lette, whilst B Company outflanked the enemy, by whom the 
1st Lincolnshire and 12th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers were 
held up : the hostile machine-guns were then withdrawn, though 
one of them fell into the hands of the 2nd Lincolnshire. D 
Company reached the northern outskirts of Le Sars without 
further opposition and later continued the advance to Blue Cut 
(south of Le Barque) and, moving north into the village, drove 
back a hostile counter-attack. The Battalion Diary states that 
this company was continually engaged throughout the day with 
the enemy in Le Barque, but maintained its position there. 

C Company at 2 p.m. moved to a valley east of Le Sars and 
took up a position there in consequence of hostile troops being 
seen coming up over the high ground east of Eaucourt l'Abbaye, 
between the right of the brigade and the left of the 1 7th Division. 
This company, with Battalion Headquarters, moved at 5 p.m. to 
support the 6th Leicesters, holding a line through " Site of 
Mill," on the Le Sars-Eaucourt l'Abbaye road. At 10 p.m., 
B Company was relieved and moved to a trench south of Le 
Barque. 

The 37th Division cleared Favreuil late in the evening of the 
25th after confused fighting, but the 63rd Brigade was in 
reserve and the 8th Lincolnshire, having moved forward in an 
easterly direction at 6.30 p.m., established themselves in the 
neighbourhood of the Sapignies-Bapaume road. 

From and including the 26th of August to the 30th, the 1st 
34* 



CASUALTIES [aug. 2ist-z8th, 1918 

2nd, 7th and 8th Lincolnshire saw little fighting, though the 
advance continued. The 1st Lincolnshire were at Le Sars 
reorganising, the 2nd were at Warlencourt, the 7th in Martin- 
puich Valley, and the 8 th in huts north-east of Achiet-le-Petit. 

The 1st Battalion lost between the 2 1st and 28th Captain 
F.C.M. McKellar, Lieutenant H. Wild, 2nd Lieutenant F.W. 
Gibbon and twenty-nine other ranks killed, Captain F.H. Young 
and two other ranks died of wounds, Captain H.L. Dent, 2nd 
Lieutenants W.J. Allan, W. Thain, W. Tapsell, M.L. Barlow 
and one hundred and sixty-six other ranks wounded and twenty 
other ranks missing. The losses of the 2nd Battalion from the 
20th of August to the 29th /30th of August are given as Lieu- 
enant G.P. Walton, and twenty-one other ranks killed, 2nd 
Lieutenant F.I. Constantine died of wounds, Lieutenant H.P.T. 
Pryce and seventy-one other ranks wounded, and fifteen other 
ranks missing. The 7th Lincolnshire lost eight officers and 
two hundred and three other ranks, but the 8 th do not state their 
losses. 

At the end of the Diary of the 2nd Lincolnshire for August 
there is a brief summing-up of the battalion's work during the 
month, and looking back over the years to that tense period, it is 
interesting to note the spirit of all ranks : " The men had 
behaved in a manner beyond praise and had responded to all 
calls in a cheerful and willing manner ... all ranks have shown 
fine spirit and determination. . . . The operations from August 
the 1 7th have greatly raised the moral of the men, who are now 
prepared for any exceptional strain which they may be called 
upon to undergo. Every man is satisfied that it requires several 
Bosches to equal one of ours." 

There is also a note to the effect that the battalion was 
equipped with thirty-six Lewis guns — two with each platoon and 
four at Battalion Headquarters. 



Ill 

THE SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME, I918 

(ii) The Second Batile of Bapaume, 31J/ August- 
yd September 

The 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8 th Lincolnshire were all in the area of 
this battle, though without taking part in the actual fighting. 

The 1st Battalion on the 1st of September was still at Le Sars 
training, but on the 2nd moved to an area immediately east of 
Gueudecourtand bivouacked, remaining in that position through- 

349 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

out the 3rd. The 2nd Battalion from Warlencourt moved on 
the 2nd to the Yellow Line south of Le Barque at 2.30 p.m., but 
during the evening was moved to a position south-east of 
Gueudecourt, where it remained the following day. The 7th 
Lincolnshire rested near Martinpuich on the 1st, but on the 2nd 
took up, first a. line north-east of Gueudecourt and later a north 
and south line due east of the village. The night of the 3rd, 
however, found the 7th Lincolnshire in an old German trench 
system running south-east from Barastre and north-east of 
Rocquigny. The 8 th Battalion marched out of Achiet-le-Petit 
on the 3rd and bivouacked for the night just east of Beugny. 

The enemy was now falling back rapidly before the Fourth 
and Third Armies to the Hindenburg Line, and for a week the 
fighting, though not of a heavy nature, was yet the cause of 
numerous casualties. Most of the latter were from machine-gun 
fire or shell-fire, for the enemy's infantry made few determined 
efforts to hold up our advance. The advance took place over 
the old Somme battlefields of 1 9 1 6, 1 9 1 7 and early 1 9 1 8 . Old 
trenches, old wire entanglements, old defences were everywhere, 
gaping shell-holes and craters on all sides, roads destroyed, 
villages in ruins — a desolate and ravished country, the ghastly 
evidence of the holocaust which had passed over it. To advance 
across such ground was difficult enough, but to fight an enemy 
into the bargain made the going terribly heavy. 

On the morning of the 4th, the 62nd Brigade moved forward 
to an area north and north-west of Rocquigny, and both the 1st 
and 2nd Lincolnshire were ordered to establish posts east of that 
village. The following night the brigade was ordered to relieve 
the 1 14th Brigade in the front line east of Manancourt. The 
1 st Battalion relieved the 14th Welch, who had been in action 
immediately east of Manancourt, and on the eastern bank of the 
Canal du Nord, while the 2nd Battalion took over the line held 
by the 14th Royal Welch Fusiliers on the right. 

Immediately the reliefs were completed patrols were pushed 
out to ascertain if the enemy's resistance showed any sign of 
weakening, if so, battalions were to send out advanced guard 
patrols and be prepared to support them with the remainder of 
the battalion. 

On the right the 2nd Lincolnshire reached a line of old 
trenches south of Equancourt, while the 1st Battalion, having 
first made good some trenches west of the village, occupied 
others east of the village. By nightfall the 2nd Lincolnshire 
held Sorel-le-Grand with an outpost line pushed out along the 
Sorel Spur, while the 1st Battalion was north of the 2nd in Fins, 
and on the high ground north of that place. 

The two battalions were now advancing over the very ground 

35° 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. 9 th, 1918 

they had held in March during the Great German Offensive, 
when, outnumbered and having suffered heavy casualties, they 
were in retirement. The 2nd Battalion had occupied Sorel 
during that tragic retreat. 

At 7.20 a.m. on the 7th, the advance began again, the 62nd 
Brigade's final objective being the northern end of Peiziere- 
Vaucellette Farm— Chapel crossing. 

From Sorel-le-Grand the 2nd Lincolnshire began their advance 
almost due east at 7.20 a.m. They were making good progress 
when B Company, leading, on reaching a ridge some eight 
hundred yards south-west of Heudicourt, was held up by 
machine-gun fire from the southern extremities of the village. 
The advance was then stopped until troops of the 12th Division 
came up on the right, but by 9.30 a.m., after the guns had shelled 
the enemy's machine-guns, B Company again advanced and 
reached the high ground south of Heudicourt. By noon the 
battalion held a line south and south-east of the village. 

There had been little rifle-fire : the enemy's policy apparently 
was to hang on as long as possible with his machine-guns and 
then fall back covered by his artillery. The enemy shelled the 
whole area occupied by the 2nd Lincolnshire, using mostly 
" sneezing gas." During the evening the battalidn formed a 
defensive flank facing north, as the ist Lincolnshire had not been 
able to secure Revelon Copse. The day's operations had cost 
the 2nd Battalion the loss of four officers (Lieutenant J.W. 
Brown, 2nd Lieutenants R. Sharpe and J.A. Graves and the 
Rev. M. Tron, the Padre, wounded) and approximately ninety 
other rank casualties. 

Meanwhile the 1st Lincolnshire (on the immediate left of the 
2nd), with their first objective the old British line running north 
and south-east of Heudicourt, had also advanced at 7.20 a.m. 
Stiff resistance was met with on the crest of the Fins Ridge, but 
this was soon overcome, and the battalion pushed on to the 
objective. C Company worked south to the Revelon Ridge 
and Railton. Thirty prisoners had so far been captured, also 
several machine-guns. During the night the enemy counter- 
attacked from Revelon and also during the early hours of the 
8 th : both attacks were beaten off. 

The 2nd Battalion made no advance on the 8th, but the ist 
pushed out patrols which occupied Revelon, Genin Well Copse 
No. 1 . An attempt to occupy Genin Copse No. 2 was frustrated 
by the enemy. On the 9th both the ist and 2nd Lincolnshire 
were relieved, the former moving back to Etricourt and the 
latter to Manancourt. 

The 2nd Battalion had two more officers (Captain Rutherford 
and Lieutenant Sherwood) wounded on the 8 th of September. 

35* 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

On this date also the 2nd Lincolnshire actually held the identical 
trenches they were in on the 22nd of March, 1918, during the 
German Offensive. 

North of the 21st Division the 17th Division had also been 
pushing forward vigorously. The j'oth Brigade succeeded in 
crossing the Canal du Nord and obtained a footing in Hayette 
Wood. At 1 o a.m. on the 4th, the 5 1 st Brigade moved forward 
to a north and south line south of Bus, the 7th Lincolnshire being 
on the left of the line. At night the 42nd Division, on the left, 
captured the Ytres-Equancourt trench line as far south "as 
one thousand three hundred yards east of Little Wood, and the 
Lincolnshire were ordered to attack the continuation of this 
trench from the north, i.e., in a southerly direction. 

At 7.30 a.m. on the 5th the battalion marched through Ytres 
to its assembly position and at zero (9.30 a.m.) attacked south, 
Mouette Trench, their objective being in the sunken road north 
of Equancourt. Quite half of the objective had been captured 
when, owing to heavy machine-gun fire and bombing attacks, the 
battalion was held up. But the position gained was held until 
8.30 p.m. that night, when the 7th Border Regiment arrived to 
carry on the attack southwards. 

The 7th Lincolnshire lost heavily in this attack : three officers 
(2nd Lieutenants H.W. Tilbury, E. Tomlinson and G.H.W. 
Bloomer) were killed and five (Captain J. Wildy, Lieutenant J.R. 
Williams and 2nd Lieutenants J.H. Maxwell, E. Taylor and 
A.W.H. Cooper) were wounded : in other ranks killed, wounded 
and missing the losses were one hundred and seven. On the 
night of the 6 th the battalion was relieved and moved to an area 
east of Rocquigny. Several days in reserve or support followed, 
and on the 1 ith the 7th Lincolnshire were in huts alongside the 
Lechelle-Ytres road. 

The 8th Lincolnshire (in brigade) left Beugny on the 4th, and 
on the 5th reached the north-western edge of Havrincourt Wood, 
where they occupied old trenches. Their brigade (the 63rd) 
then held the right sub-sector of the 37 th Divisional front. The 
following afternoon patrols reached the western edge of the wood, 
and on the 7th the line was pushed forward into the wood to 
Clayton Cross ?> along Hubert Avenue to Cheetham Switch. The 
enemy's machine-guns were busy, but his artillery was almost 
inactive. What shell-fire there was, however, was unpleasant, for 
the enemy was using gas and the Lincolnshire had seven casual- 
ties. The 8th saw one company of the battalion in Cheetham 
Switch, two other ranks being killed and four wounded during 
the day. On the 9th a post west of the Canal du Nord was 
established, and C Company moved to Yorkshire Bank : one 
other rank killed, five wounded and nine gassed were the 
3$2 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE tAPR . 2ND , I9l8 

casualties on that date. On the loth three prisoners were cap- 
tured, but heavy shell-fire was responsible for the loss of one 
officer (2nd Lieutenant G. Jones) and five other ranks killed, 
nine wounded and three gassed. 

The next day, the nth, the 63rd Brigade was relieved and 
the 8 th Lincolnshire moved back to a camp west of Lebucquiere. 



IV 

THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1 9 I 8 : THE BATTLE OF THE SCARPE, 
26TH— 3OTH AUGUST ; AND THE BATTLE OF DROCOURT-QUEANT, 

2ND-3RD SEPTEMBER 

" By the 2£th of August our advance had formed a salient of 
the German positions opposite Arras," and Sir Douglas Haig's 
intention was to attack eastwards from Arras with the First 
Army, covered on the left by the Rivers Scarpe and Sensee, and 
turn the enemy's positions on the Somme battlefield. {Despatch of 
the 21st December, 1 9 1 8, para. 27.) 

The 6th Lincolnshire, in the 33rd Infantry Brigade, came into 
the area of the Second Battles of Arras, 191 8, towards the end of 
August ; but as the battalion has not been mentioned since the 
First Battle of Arras, 1 9 1 8, in March, some account of its activities 
in the interval, before describing the part it played in breaking 
the Hindenburg Line, will not be out of place. 

The 6th Battalion spent most of the spring and summer in the 
line near Loos. The Battalion Diary mentions a marked increase 
in hostile artillery activity between the 15th and 25th of March, 
otherwise there is little of interest in the records. The last 
sentence in the Diary, however, is as follows : "Preparations 
made for a big raid on the right sub-sector." 

This raid took place on the morning of the 2nd of April at 
8 a.m. The section of the enemy's line raided was a stretch of 
trench line (front and two support lines) some three hundred to 
four hundred yards in extent, about six hundred yards north of 
the Bois Hugo, north-east of Loos. 

The object of the raid was to secure identifications, destroy 
enemy posts, dug-outs, trench-mortar and machine-gun emplace- 
ments. 

The raiders consisted of six officers and one hundred and 
seventy-two other ranks drawn from C and D Companies. The 
officer commanding the raid was Major T.D. Sutherland, Captain 
Bone commanding the men of C Company and Captain Shephard 
those from D Company. The attack was carried out in three 

aa 353 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

waves, Captain Shephard commanding the first wave, Captain 
Bone the second wave, and Lieutenant Pattinson the third 
wave. 

At 7.45 a.m. gas was fired into the German trenches west and 
south-west of Hulluch from 4-in. Stokes mortars, which forced 
the enemy to wear gas masks and keep below in his dug-outs. 

Supported by a heavy barrage on the German trenches and by 
trench-mortars and machine-guns and heavy counter-battery work, 
the raiders crossed No Man's Land at 8 a.m. They dashed into 
the enemy's trenches, but his troops showed little fighting spirit, 
all but the crew of a trench-mortar battery, who refused to 
surrender and were killed. The front line appeared almost 
deserted, for only three Germans were seen in it : three dug-out 
shafts were destroyed. The second trench was very shallow : 
no trench-mortars were seen. In this line fifteen prisoners were 
captured and seven more killed exclusive of those in dug-outs. 
Two machine-guns were taken, but the man carrying one was 
wounded in No Man's Land and the gun had to be abandoned: 
the other was brought in. The third line was found in bad con- 
dition, but three dug-outs were destroyed, and a number of 
prisoners taken. In all, the raiders captured one officer and 
twenty-six other ranks unwounded and four other ranks wounded, 
as well as one machine-gun. Many Germans were killed, prin- 
cipally in dug-outs, as they refused to come out and surrender. 
The losses of the Lincolnshire were four other ranks killed, 
fifteen wounded and two other ranks missing. 

This highly successful operation drew many congratulations 
and the Corps Commander (Lieut-General Sir Arthur Holland) 
wrote : "I consider that the results of the raid show that all 
details had been carefully planned and for this credit is due to 
Major-General H.R. Davies (commanding nth Division) and 
Brig.-General F.G. Spring, the Lincolnshire Regiment (com- 
manding 33rd Infantry Brigade), who closely supervised all 
practices. Great credit is also due to the Officer Commanding 
(Lieut-Colonel G.T. Bruce) and all ranks of the 6th Battalion, 
Lincolnshire Regiment, for the way in which the plans of the 
higher commanders were carried out : fearless and cool leading 
among the junior officers and dash and enterprise among the 
men were exemplified in the highest degree, and it was these 
characteristics which ensured the success which was obtained." 

A few days later (on the 7th) the enemy put down on the area 
occupied by the Lincolnshire a very heavy gas bombardment 
chiefly on battery positions, which lasted fourteen hours, but no 
records exist of casualties suffered. On the other hand, when 
on the night of the 1 9th /20th of May (the battalion being then in 
the right sub-sector of the St. Elie sector) the enemy put about 
354 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [A ug. 3 ist, i 9I 8 

eight hundred gas projectiles on to the British front ; one officer 
and ten other ranks were killed and fifteen other ranks 
wounded. 

June and July and most of August were without events of 
more than ordinary interest. On the 25th of August the Lin- 
colnshire were relieved from the Vermelles and Loos area and 
moved to- La Thieuloye (twenty miles north-west of Arras) by 
rail. On arrival at the latter village the battalion reorganised, 
and on the 29 th moved by bus to Ecurie, three miles north of 
Arras, where the night was spent in huts. 

On the night of the 30th /31st August, after dark, the 33rd 
Brigade took over a line from some Canadian machine-gunners, 
and in the morning, the Lincolnshire and South Stafrbrds found 



''St.Vaast 




Scale 



THE SECOND BATTLE OF ARRAS, I918. 

they were holding a position east of Boiry Notre Dame and ahead 
of the 4th Division on their right ; overlooked by Germans on 
high ground about Dury, on the opposite bank of the Cojeul 
River. The 4th Division took Dury on the 2nd September. 
On the night of the 31st August, 2nd Lieutenants Surfleet and 
Pitkeathly patrolled towards Sailly-en-Ostrevent and Etaing, 
finding these villages strongly held ; both officers brought back 
very useful information. 

The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line was fought on the 
2nd /3rd September. In this battle the 1 1 th Division on the left 

355 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

bank of the River Cojeul 1 covered the left flank of the 4th Divi- 
sion, which attacked in the direction of Etaing, on the opposite 
bank of the river. The Canadians, on the right of the 4th Divi- 
sion, attacked astride the Arras-Cambrai road. The 33rd 
Brigade was the right brigade of the 1 ith Division, and the 6th 
Lincolnshire the right battalion of the 33rd Brigade ; it was just 
east of Boiry Notre-Dame and in advance of the left of the 4th 
Division. 

A party of the Lincolnshire, one officer and six or eight men, 
was detailed to keep in touch with the 4th Division by moving 
along the west (left) bank of the river. The party saw a German 
sentry on the opposite bank, over what they correctly assumed 
to be a German post, close to the river, and about four hundred 



s&s, 



■>tmpsons\ 
Robte ^ 



,JfiGerman Post 

■I 

German Post 
(Captured) 



Lincolnshire 
Line 



H 



4 T . H Division Line 




SERGEANT SIMPSON WINS V.C. 

yards to their front. Sergeant Simpson volunteered to go 
forward and reconnoitre ; there was good cover along the bank, 
and by making a detour he got past the post without the German 
sentry, who was looking south, seeing him. Sergeant Simpson 
determined to capture the post by himself, swam the river, 
crawled up to the post in rear of the sentry, and shot him. The 
other Germans who were in a dug-out, rushed up, and finding 
themselves covered by Simpson, threw their arms down and put 
their hands up. The rest of the Lincolnshire patrol then came 
up and took the prisoners back over the river by a small bridge 
the Germans had made. Another German post, further down 
the river towards Etaing, seeing what had happened came out 
and attacked our party, which sustained casualties, including 2nd 
Lieutenant Barrett ; Simpson again distinguished himself by 

* The River Cojeul joins the River Sensee about two thousand yards west of Etaing* 
which is, therefore, on the latter river. 

3$6 



THE BATTLE OF EPEHY [sE pt. rs™, I9l8 

remaining to the last and covering the withdrawal. All the 
patrol returned safely with wounded men and prisoners. Ser- 
geant Simpson was awarded the V.C. {London Gazette, 30^ 
October, 1918), and shortly afterwards won the D.C.M. for 
another act of gallantry. Sergeant Simpson later on changed his 
name to Evans. 

The 6th Lincolnshire, with the 33rd Brigade, remained in this 
area, facing the Germans across the Trinquis River, which runs 
from Biache St. Vaast, on the River Scarpe, to Sailly-en-Ostrevent 
till the 20th September. The enemy held the latter place in 
strength, and our patrols could not get in. 



V 

THE BATTLES OF THE HINDENBURG LINE : I 2TH SEPTEMBER- 

9TH OCTOBER 

(i) The Battle of Epehy, iBth September 
(See map p. 362) 

On the rath of September the villages of Trescault and 
Havrincourt were captured (the Battle of Havrincourt, 12th 
September) and positions were secured of considerable impor- 
tance from which to launch future attacks. By the evening of 
the 1 7th the line of the Fourth and Third Armies and the right 
of the First Army ran from Holnon (west of St, Quentin), thence 
in a slightly north-westerly direction just east of Maissemy, 
Hesbecourt, just west of Epehy, Villers-Guislain, Gouzeaucourt, 
through Moeuvres to Inchy, from which place it followed the 
line of the Hirondelle River to the southern bank of the Scarpe. 

At 7 a.m. on the 18 th, the Fourth (Rawlinson) and Third 
(Byng) Armies attacked the enemy on a front of about seventeen 
miles, from Holnon to Gouzeaucourt, the First French Army 
co-operating south of Holnon. 

The 1st, 2nd and 7th Lincolnshire took part in this attack. 
< The 1st Battalion remained at Etricourt, training and prac- 
tising the attack, until the 16th, when a move was made to 
Sorel-le-Grand. The 17th was spent in preparing for the 
operations due to take place on the 18th. At midnight, 17th/ 
1 8th, the battalion moved to the assembly positions, i.e., the 
Yellow Line, which ran north and south-west of Peiziere and 
Epehy, the Lincolnshire's jumplng-off line being north-west of 
the latter village. The battalion formed up with D Company 
on the right and A on the left, who were to capture the first 
objective — a trench immediately west of Vaucellette Farm : 

357 



HISTORY* OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

C Company on the right, and B on the left, formed the second 
line, their task being to capture the second objective — a trench 
running north and south immediately east of Vaucellette Farm. 1 
The 2nd Lincolnshire were in Divisional Reserve at Manan- 
court until the 16th, when they moved forward to the Yellow 
Line also north-west of Peiziere, but south of the i st Battalion. 
The 1 2th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers were on the left of 
the 2nd Lincolnshire and the 1st Lincolnshire on the left of the 
Northumberland Fusiliers. 

The assembly position astride the Epehy— Heudicourt rail- 
way, where the 2nd Battalion formed up on the 1 8th September, 
was the exact line held on March 21st and 22nd. Battalion 
ration indents, trench notice-boards and other things were found 
as they were left when the battalion fell back six months before. 
It would probably have been impossible in the appalling weather 
conditions for the battalion to have reached its assembly 
position without its previous familiarity with the ground. As 
it was, the 2nd Battalion only arrived there at zero hour, 5.20 
a.m. 

The 7th Lincolnshire of the 1 7th Division remained in huts 
on the Lechelle-Ypres road until 9.30 p.m. on the night of the 
1 7th. They then moved to their assembly positions on the Fins 
Ridge, i.e., some old trenches south-east of Dessart Wood, the 
move being completed just after 1 a.m. on the 18th. The 
enemy's guns were shelling our line with gas, and on passing 
through Fins several casualties were suffered : he also put down 
a heavy gas bombardment on the assembly positions. At 5.24 
a.m., the Lincolnshire moved forward to what had been the old 
British front line, i.e., Heather Support, north of Genin Well 
Copse No. 1. 

The 51st Brigade had been ordered to capture the third 
objective (Somme Alley, Lancashire Trench to the southern 
outskirts of Villers-Guislain) : the 7 th Lincolnshire were, there- 
fore, not in the initial attack. 

Heavy rain was falling on the 18 th when zero hour arrived 
and the troops advanced. The barrage fell some two hundred 
yards in front of the 2nd Lincolnshire and moved forward at 
the rate of one hundred yards in four minutes. Along the 
railway, south-east of the battalion's forming-up line, consider- 
able opposition was experienced, chiefly from machine-guns, 
but these were speedily dealt with and the attackers passed on. 
The first objective was found to be strongly held, but nothing 
could stay the advance of men who had been told, and felt that 
victory was within their grasp. They fell upon the enemy with 
great determination, bayonets and bombs were used freely and 

1 This trench had been the old British front line on the 21st of March, 1918. 
358 



THE 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [SE p T . is™, i 9 is 

soon the garrisons were overwhelmed and killed, several machine- 
guns being captured. The men's dash and determination was 
undoubtedly due to a great extent to the knowledge that they 
were recovering the ground they had held six months earlier. 1 

On reaching the first objective, the second waves of A, C and 
D Companies passed through and attacked the second objective. 
In front of A Company little opposition was experienced, but in 
front of D some machine-guns made things unpleasant until 
they were successfully dealt with. B Company then passed 
through D Company and attacked and occupied Plane Trench, 




EFEHY 



the third objective. It was here that two platoons o£B Company, 
which had passed their objective in Plane Trench and had ad- 
vanced as far as a sunken road north-east, saw a German battery 
of 77mm. guns in action. These guns were kept under heavy 
rifle-fire until units of the 110th Brigade (which with the 64th 
Brigade leap-frogged the 62nd Brigade) passed through and 
captured the battery, complete with team and personnel. 

On the left of the 2nd Battalion the 12th/ 13th Northumber- 
land Fusiliers and the 1st Lincolnshire had also reached their 
objectives. 

The 1 st Battalion give no details of their advance excepting 

1 Some of the prisoners taken on the 18th September belonged to the 10th Jaegers ; 
two of their shoulder straps are now in the Officers' Mess of the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire 
Regiment, formerly the ioth Foot. 

359 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

the statement that the attack was entirely successful and all 
objectives were captured, together with six officers and one 
hundred and fifty other ranks, as well as many machine-guns 
and much war material. 

Orders were received at 10 p.m. to reorganise the 62nd 
Brigade front, the 2nd Lincolnshire to hold the right, the 
1 2th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers the left, while the 1st 
Lincolnshire moved back to support positions in rear of the 
Northumberland Fusiliers. 

On the left of the 2 1st Division the attack of the 1 7th Division 
had also met with considerable success. The 52nd Brigade cap- 
tured the first objective (Lowland and Cavalry Trenches) : the 
50th Brigade then passed through and cleared the second objec- 
tive (the sunken road running due south from Gouzeaucourt, 
west, and parallel with the railway) : the 51st Brigade then 
advanced to pass through the 52nd and 50th Brigades to capture 
the third objective (Somme Alley and Lancashire Trench to the 
southern outskirts of Villers-Guislain). 

The 7th Lincolnshire advanced at 6.29 a.m. and crossed the 
first objective, but ran into a heavy barrage, through which they 
were obliged to pass. By this time the enemy had shortened 
the range of his guns in order to prevent, if possible, support 
troops moving up. As the battalion topped a ridge just south 
and south-west of Villers-Guislain, the enemy's machine-guns 
opened heavy fire. There was a long embankment covering the 
ridge and in this the Lincolnshire took shelter, the 7th East 
Yorks being also held up, sheltering in a sunken road east of the 
embankment. The time was 7.23 a.m., but shortly after 9 a.m., 
the enemy's resistance had been broken down by the East Yorks, 
the 1 oth Notts and Derby and D Company of the 7th Lincolnshire, 
under Captain W.H. Parsloe, who had worked round and taken 
the enemy in flank. Some two hundred prisoners were taken. 
The Lincolnshire then resumed their advance, but had to fight 
their way to their assembly position which was the railway line 
north of Gauche Wood. 

At 9.15 a.m., the advance from the railway began, meeting 
with very little resistance in Gauche Wood, where a stiff fight had 
been expected.. About one hundred and twenty prisoners were 
captured including three officers, and A and B Companies took 
up position in Somme Alley to the end of the Wood, with C and D 
in support. Exploiting parties were sent out as far as Quentin 
Redoubt north of Gauche Wood. 

During^ the afternoon the enemy attacked the right of the 
battalion, i.e., B and D Companies, but was repulsed with heavy 
losses. 

The attack of the 1 8 th of September resulted in the gain of 
360 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. i 9 th, i 9 i 8 

practically all objectives, the deep, continuous and well-organized 
defence belt formed by the old British and German lines had been 
penetrated to a depth of three miles. About Epehy the fighting 
had been very heavy, but eventually the enemy's resistance was 
broken down and positions reorganised before an attack could 
be made upon the main defences of the Hindenburg Line. 

Early on the 19th the reorganisation of the line of the 62nd 
Brigade was completed, but throughout the day no moves were 
made. Late at night the 2nd Lincolnshire were relieved by 
troops of the 33rd Division and moved back to billets north of 
Nurlu. From the 1 8th to the night of the 19th /20th the bat- 
talion had lost one officer (2nd Lieutenant C.H.S. Rand, 21st 
Northumberland Fusiliers) and five other ranks killed, two 
officers (2nd Lieutenants G. Stansbury and H.V. Manwaring), 
and fifty-nine other ranks wounded, and six other ranks missing. 
They had captured otiQ officer and eighty other ranks and many 
machine-guns. 

The 1st Lincolnshire were similarly relieved on the night of 
the 1 9th and marched back to billets in Sorel-le-Grand. They 
give their casualties from the 13th to the 20th of September as 
one officer (2nd Lieutenant W. Clough) and seven other ranks 
killed, fifty other ranks wounded, and twenty other ranks missing. 

The 7th Lincolnshire throughout the 19th consolidated their 
positions and were relieved at night by the 10th West Yorkshire. 
The battalion then came into Divisional Reserve, but was placed 
at the tactical disposal of the General Officer Commanding, 
50th Brigade, and located in Heather Support. Casualties 
during the operations had been heavy : 2nd Lieutenant G.A. 
Beaver and twenty-one other ranks were killed, 2nd Lieutenant 
H.T. Bowyer and two hundred and thirty-nine other ranks were 
wounded, and twelve other ranks missing. Five officers and 
one hundred and sixty other ranks of the enemy had been 
captured as well as one field-gun, eighteen .machine-guns, four 
Minenwerfer, and four anti-tank rifles. 

(ii) The Battle of the Canal du Nord 1 : 27 th September-lit October 

This attack was carried out by the Third Army (Byng) and 
First Army (Home) against the German positions extending from 
Gouzeaucourt in the south to the neighbourhood of Sauchy 
Lestree in the north, a distance of about thirteen miles ; it 
commenced on the 27th September, and prepared the way for 
the assault on the St. Quentin Canal by the Fourth Army 
(Rawlinson) on the 29th. 

1 The Battles of Canal du Nord, the St. Quentin Canal and the Beaurevoir Line are de- 
scribed in Sir Douglas Haig's despatch, dated the axst December, 1918, under the heading : 
" The Battle of Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line (27th September-^th October)." 

361 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

In the operations on the extreme right of the above line (at 
Gouzeaucourt) the 1st and 2nd -Battalions of the Regiment were 
engaged. Both battalions remained in billets near Nurlu until 
the 25th of September, when the 62nd Brigade moved up to the 
front line to relieve the 50th Brigade (17th Division). The 1st 
Lincolnshire took over, on the night of the 2 5th /26th, the right 
of the brigade line in the Gouzeaucourt sector, the Northumber- 
lands being on the left and the 2nd Lincolnshire in support in old 
trenches which ran across the Fins Ridge. 

In conjunction with the general attack north, the 62nd Brigade 
attacked the enemy's trenches west of Gouzeaucourt. The 
Northumberland Fusiliers carried out the attack, which was on 



-it_ 



jPajaart 



Fins 



KV-% 



Si 5. Gvunx'tnema't 
\«fe Wood. 



Gouzeaucoj 




Gonnelieu 



Banteu 



t fe©3 Ml. .... ^1 



H°l 
^GeninWell 

STATION 



1 CffAPCL 
¥ CnOSSltIG 




Villers•Gllislairv ! ■'' , *" 5 



—QS'ine \t=f 



. Vaucellette ^~FJ&=^< 01 

a Farm // "vj fc 

>J . . . S 



*!#** 



BATTLES OF EPEHY AND CANAL DU NORD 



African Trench, west of the village. The 1 st Lincolnshire sup- 
ported the attack with rifle and Lewis gun fire, while the 2nd 
Battalion moved C Company forward some two thousand yards 
to the valley, in rear of African Support, under the orders of the 
Officer Commanding, 12th /13th Northumberland Fusiliers. 

At about 7 a.m. on the 28th, the enemy was reported to have 
evacuated Gouzeaucourt and a patrol of the 1st Lincolnshire, 
under 2nd Lieutenant Chadwell, pushed through the village to 
the railway east of it, which was made good, seventeen Germans 
being captured. 

The enemy was found to be in occupation of Gonnelieu and 
the reserve line west of that place. Meanwhile the 2nd Lin- 
colnshire had moved up to the trenches captured by the 
Northumberland Fusiliers. 

At 9 p.m. warning orders were received to attack Gonnelieu 
362 



THE ist LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. * 9 th, r 9 i8 

at 3.30 a.m. on the 29th. The ist Lincolnshire was to attack 
on the right and the 2nd Battalion on the left. 

The ist Battalion formed up just east of Gouzeaucourt along 
the Peiziere-Gouzeaucourt railway : the 2nd Battalion as- 
sembled along the railway between Gouzeaucourt station and 
Quarry, A Company on the right, D on the left, with B and C 
(right and left respectively) in the second line. 

Actual orders for the attack were not received until very 
late : it was 11.30 p.m. before they reached the ist Battalion, 
and the 2nd Battalion had theirs so late that assembly in time for 
the attack at zero was impossible. The barrage was to fall on 
a line one thousand five hundred yards east of the assembly 
positions, which meant that the troops had some distance to go, 
in fact the ist Lincolnshire left their assembly positions at 3 a.m. 
to catch the barrage up at 3.30 a.m. As the 2nd Lincolnshire 
were not assembled by zero, two tanks which had been ordered 
to co-operate were given orders to operate on the left of the ist 
Battalion in place of the former : one tank broke down before 
zero. 

The creeping barrage fell at 3.30 a.m., which the Lincolnshire 
describe as " a very bad barrage," for the battalion was almost 
immediately held up by violent machine-gun fire. Elements of 
A and D Companies (the leading companies of the ist Battalion) 
succeeded in reaching their objective, but no attack was develop- 
ing on either flank and they were under heavy machine-gun fire : 
the objectives could not be made good. After daylight all 
men, as could be, were withdrawn into Kemmel Support (about 
four hundred yards east of Gouzeaucourt railway) and reorgan- 
ised. At noon orders were received which stated that, owing to 
the success of the 2nd Division on the left, which was working 
round the north of Gonnelieu, the ist Lincolnshire were to pass 
through that Division for the purpose of encircling the village. 
But the situation on the left was found not as satisfactory as 
reported, and the Lincolnshire returned to Kemmel Support. 
The battalion had lost heavily during the day's operations and 
was now temporarily reorganised into two companies — A and C 
— under Captain Edinburgh, and B and D under Captain 
Sherwell. 

Meanwhile the 2nd Lincolnshire, hurrying to reach their 
assembly positions in time to advance at zero, had to pass through 
Gouzeaucourt, which was being gas-shelled, and across difficult 
and unknown country in the dark. They were able to get fairly 
close to the barrage. When near the Reserve Line Trench, two 
hundred yards west of Gonnelieu, they were stopped by heavy 
machine-gun fire and were forced to shelter in Green Switch, 
some five hundred yards west of Gonnelieu : here they remained. 

363 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The only tank which took part in the attack (called " Kin tore ") 
was knocked out on reaching the enemy's lines. 

Orders were received for a second encircling movement round 
the north of Gonnelieu on the 30th, and the 1st Lincolnshire 
were just moving off when reports came in that the enemy had 
withdrawn from that village and from Villers-Guislain. 

The 2nd Lincolnshire pushed out patrols from C Company 
which verified the reports and, in fact, occupied the Reserve Line 
Trench. C and B Companies then advanced north and south of 
Gonnelieu and occupied trenches some three hundred yards east 
of the village : they were followed by A and D Companies, which, 
passing through C and B, occupied the sunken road between 
Cheshire Quarry and the Banteux Spur. C and B again moved 
forward to the final objective eight hundred yards in front of 
A and D Companies, i.e., a position commanding the St. Quentin 
Canal, eight hundred yards distant in the valley in front, and also 
the rising ground on the far side of the Canal, where the Hinden- 
burg Line proper was situated. 

The 1st Lincolnshire then passed through the 2nd Battalion 
and, working down the Banteux Spur, reached the Canal at about 
7 p.m., without opposition. Banteux was occupied, but all 
bridges over the Canal had been destroyed, the last one going 
up just as the 1st Lincolnshire reached the western banks. 
Defensive positions were then taken up for the night. 

In the attack on Gonnelieu the 1st Lincolnshire lost 2nd 
Lieutenant Miller killed, Captain H.M. Boxer (A Company) 
wounded and missing, 1 and about two hundred and fifty other 
ranks killed, wounded and missing : the 2nd Battalion's losses 
were ten other ranks killed, thirty-nine wounded, seventeen 
missing : officers nil. 

It is not uninteresting to recall that the 2nd Battalion had in 
April 1 9 1 7 carried out a successful attack on Gonnelieu. 

The 1 st of October passed quietly for both battalions, which 
remained in the positions taken up on the previous day. 

The 17th Division was not engaged in the operation described 
above, having moved into Corps Reserve at Rocquigny and 
Mesnil : the 7th Lincolnshire were, however, at Etricourt, only 
just outside the battle area, where they remained until the 4th of 
October. 

1 Captain Boxer was hit in the hip after dawn on the 29th} and soon afterwards through 
the chest. When he recovered consciousness he was among Germans from a line of " pill- 
boxes " through which the Lincolnshires had passed in the dark. His wounds were 
dressed and he was treated with great kindness and consideration. He remained with 
them throughout the whole of the 29th and the night of the 29th/30th. When the 
Germans retired he was left in a dug-out with coffee and food, and a notice at the entrance 
that a wounded British officer was inside. He was picked up by a battalion of the 
Cheshire Regiment on the 30th. 

3 6 4 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [SEP t. 3 oth, I9I g 

The 6 th Lincolnshire, of the i ith Division (attached to the 
Canadian Corps), were with their Brigade (3 3rd) in support during 
the hard fighting at the Canal du Nord, near Sains-lez-Marquion. 
The battalion moved to Cherisy on the 25th September and 
marched to the Drocourt-Queant Switch the next day. The 
32nd and 34th Brigades of the 1 ith Division operated on the left 
of the Canadians and crossed the Canal south of Marquion, then 
swung north and captured Epinoy and Oisy-le-Verger. The 
Lincolnshire moved to the Buissy Switch in support of these 
attacks. On the 28th the battalion crossed the Canal to the 
Marquion line, in and south of Sauchy Lestree. In this position 
it remained throughout the 29th in readiness to support further 
attacks if necessary. The Canadians, attacking along the 
Arras-Cambrai road, met with strong opposition and a flanking 




movement by the nth Division was not attempted. The next 
day the 6th Lincolnshire rejoined their brigade in the Buissy 
Switch near Cagnicourt, but they had hardly settled down before, 
on, the night of the 30th September /ist October, they again 
crossed the Canal and took up a position between Oisy-le-Verger 
and Marquion : on the 2nd of October they took over dug-outs 
west of Haynecourt. 

(iii) The Battle of St. Quentin Canal : 19th September-ind October 

The 1 /5th Lincolnshire, which as part of the 46th Division 
took part in the attack on the St. Quentin Canal, was last men- 
tioned on the 20th March at Verquin, in the Bethune area, where 
it remained until the 46th Division relieved part of the ist and 
4th Australian Divisions, on the 21st September, after fifteen 
months of almost continuous defensive warfare. The Division 

36S 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

how held a line opposite Bellenglise of from two thousand five 
hundred to three thousand yards in length on high ground over- 
looking the St. Quentin Canal and the enemy's positions. 

The Germans held a continuous line of trenches west of the 
Canal, protected by a broad belt of wire, and frequent strong 
points and machine-gun posts. The main crossings over the 
Canal, at Bellinglise and Riqueval bridges, were protected by 
more belts of wire, and posts of machine-gunners and riflemen. 
The St. Quentin Canal itself was a formidable obstacle ; the 
northern half of the Canal, from Riqueval Bridge to La Baraque 
cross-roads, runs between almost perpendicular cliffs, varying 
from fifty to thirty feet high. The southern half runs practically 
at ground level ; but, throughout, the Canal wall formed a per- 
pendicular obstacle faced with brick. Over more than half the 
front, the northern half, of the Canal in front of the 46th Division 
the water was from six to eight feet deep, though the southern 
portion was practically dry. 

East of the Canal was a very strong system of trenches based 
on the village of Bellenglise, the farm of La Baraque, and Harry 
and Nigger Copses ; the line was continued parallel to the Canal 
to Lehautcour. The defences of the Hindenburg Line were 
here as thorough as the science of military engineering could 
make them, and the defenders had every reason to believe that 
no troops could be expected to storm them without colossal 
losses. 1 

On the 24th a minor operation was carried out by the 1 /5th 
Leicesters, of the 138th Brigade, against the village of Pontruet, 
strongly held by the enemy on our right flank, in conjunction 
with the 1 st Division. A company of the Lincolnshire, assisted on 
the left of the Leicesters by capturing two enemy posts. The 
attack was only partially successful, but resulted in the capture of 
one officer and one hundred and thirty-six prisoners. The 
Lincolnshire lost three other ranks killed and twelve wounded. 

The first Divisional Order for the main attack on the St. 
Quentin Canal was issued on the 25th September ; the general 
idea of the operations was the breaking of the Hindenburg Line 
north of St. Quentin, and to the 46th Division (Major-General 
Boyd) was assigned the task of storming the Canal between the 
village of Bellenglise and Riqueval Bridge. The final objective 
of the Division was a line on the high ground beyond the villages 
of Lehautcour and Magny-la-Fosse. 

On the evening of the 27th the 138th Infantry Brigade was 
ordered to attack the German trenches on the ridge between the 
two ravines west of Bellenglise and Riqueval, to ensure that our 

x See Breaking of the Hindenburg Line, by Major Priestley, M.C., Royal Engineers, 
(T. Fisher. Unwin Ltd.) for a detailed account of the operations of the 46th Division. 
366 



THE 5<rii LINCOLNSHIRE [sept. 29 th, r 9I 8 

troops should meet with little resistance west of the Canal on the 
day of the main assault. The 4th Leicesters, detailed for 
the assault, occupied their objective without difficulty and very 
little fighting ; two officers and one hundred and forty-six other 
ranks captured. The Lincolnshire were relieved with the rest 
of the 138th Brigade at the conclusion of the operation and 
retired to the area about Le Verguier for a short rest. 

At 3 a.m. on the 29th (Sunday) the 1 /5th moved to assembly 
positions for the attack by the 46th Division on the St. Quentin 
Canal, the main Hindenburg Line and the positions beyond it. 



LeCatelet 




^Ber - 




j. Montbrehain 
.ncou 

Estree 

lli'court ,, NX ^— ™ D ■ -u *■ 
Hsuro/ \f^ ^Ramicourt 

*%,/, Joncourt Preselles 

3^ Va iEtricourt^ * 
"~ <s& Ma^ny-la- Fosse 

LaBarS,^^^ SSquehart 

Lehaucourt 




2 3 Miles 



Scale 



THE BATTLE OF THE ST. QUENTIN CANAL 

The battalion was not in the initial attack, for to the 137th 
Brigade was entrusted the assault first of the German trench 
system west of the Canal, then of the line of the Canal and 
BellengHse : the 139th Brigade (right) and 138th Brigade (left) 
were then to leap-frog the 137th and capture the first objective 
(Green Line), which ran east of Lehautcour and Magny-la-Fosse. 
At zero (5.50 a.m.) there was a dense mist which, though it 
covered the advance, made the keeping of direction difficult. 
The 137th Brigade stormed the trenches west of the Canal and 
reached the latter well up to time. Pushing on they crossed the 
Canal and took Bellenglise with hundreds of German prisoners. 
By 8.40 a.m. they had reached a line from, and including the 

367 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

village, thence crossing the western slopes of Knobkerry Ridge 
to Nigger Copse. 

At 8. 20 a.m., the barrage halted and a protective barrage fell 
which remained stationary for the next three hours, during which 
the 139th and 138th Brigades moved to their assembly positions 
for the attack on the first objective. 

The 1 /5th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel H.G. Wilson) moved 
forward at 8.45 a.m. 1 and reached their assembly positions west 
of the Canal, three companies B, A and D (from right to left) in 
the front line, C in support. 

At 10.50 a.m., the battalion advanced in artillery formation 
towards a bridge across the Canal ; a few casualties from shell- 
fire were suffered on the way up. The 1 /4th Leicesters were 
ahead of the Lincolnshire, and by the time the latter had crossed 
the Canal the former battalion was on the line Magny Valley- 
western end of Magny-la-Fosse-Springbok Valley, which the 
Lincolnshire reached in extended formation. 

At 12.30 p.m., the 1 /5th moved forward under a barrage to 
its objective, which included the village of Magny-la-Fosse and 
the high ground beyond. Touch was obtained with the 139th 
Brigade on the right and with American and Australian troops 
on the left. 

At the point where the barrage was picked up four tanks 
which were co-operating in the attack advanced with the Lin- 
colnshire. The right company followed the tank allotted to it, 
which moved along the trenches and together the tank and 
infantry reached their objective without much opposition. 

The centre company sent two platoons to encircle Magny on 
the southern side and mop up the road south-east of the 
village, and two platoons to go through the village itself. The 
large number of prisoners who gave themselves up was a source 
of delay, and the reserve company was, therefore, pushed through 
to keep up with the barrage, clear the eastern end of the village 
and gain and consolidate the objective. The left company 
reached its objective without serious opposition. 

At 1.50 p.m. the i/^th Leicesters passed through the Lin- 
colnshire to gain the objective about one thousand yards further 
east, which they successfully accomplished. 

The 137th, 139th and 138th Brigades had now complete^ 
the task allotted to the 46th Division, and troops of the 32nd 
Division passed through to attack the second objective. 

Of the fighting on the 29th of September the Diary of the 
1 /5th Lincolnshire has the following significant entry : " The 
whole operation was characterised by the freedom with which 

1 The Battalion Diary mentions operation orders and maps with the Diary : none 
were to be found with it. 

368 



THE BATTLE OF BEAUREVOIR [oC t. 3R d- 5 th, i 9 is 

the enemy troops surrendered. The battalion captured some 
four hundred prisoners including several officers and an artillery 
group commander, seven field-guns and, up to the time of 
writing, twenty machine-guns." 

In the latter stages of the Great Advance to Victory the German 
machine-gunners were our most formidable enemies : their guns 
were disposed in depth, often in five belts. 

The captures by the Lincolnshire had been made at compara- 
tively small cost — five other ranks killed, one officer and fifty- 
five other ranks wounded. The total number captured by the 
Division 1 amounted to four thousand two hundred prisoners and 
seventy guns at a cost of under eight hundred casualties. 

The 30th was wet and cold. The battalion spent the day 
consolidating its position. Hostile shell-fire caused a few 
casualties. During the evening the Lincolnshire moved back 
into the old German line immediately west of Magny, in Brigade 
Reserve. 

At 5.30 p.m., the Commanding Officer was warned that the 
1 /5th might be required to co-operate with the 32nd Division 
and Australian troops in an attack early on the 1st of October on 
Joncourt and Estrees and the high ground between. A recon- 
naissance was therefore carried out. But although the battalion 
moved up in support (being located in cellars and shelters in 
Magny) and a further warning order was issued to be ready to 
advance in the event of our cavalry breaking through, no orders 
came to move and the day passed quietly. 

The following day the 1 /5th Lincolnshire paraded and were 
congratulated by the Brigadier (Rowley) on their work during 
the attack on the 29th of September. In the evening a conference 
was held to discuss operations to be carried out by the 46th 
Division on the 3rd of October. 

(iv) The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line : $rd-$th October 

In the operations planned for the 3rd of October the Fourth 
Army was to attack between Sequehart and Le Catelet (occupy- 
ing both villages and Ramicourt) and capture the Beaurevoir- 
Fonsomme Line. The task alloted to the 46th Division was the 
capture of the enemy's trench system (the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme 
Line) from a point about nine hundred yards south-east of 
Preselles to roughly three hundred yards north-west of Swiss 
Cottage (west of Ramicourt) : Mannequin Hill, Ramicourt and 
Montbrehain were also to be taken. The attack was to be 
carried out by the 137th Brigade on the right and the 139th 
Brigade on the left : the 138th Brigade was in reserve and the 

1 Breaking of the Hindenburg Line— Major Priestley, M.C. 
BB 3^9 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

i /5th Lincolnshire, therefore (according to their records), do not 
appear to have been involved in the fighting, though at one period 
detached from their brigade to assist the 1 39th. 

Briefly the attack began at 6.5 a.m., and the 137th Brigade 
on the right went through to its objective without a check and 
reached Mannequin Hill : the 139th Brigade, after penetrating 
Ramicourt, pushed forward rapidly, clearing Montbrehain. By 
10.30 a.m., all objectives allotted to the 46th Division had been 
gained. But casualties had been, heavy and about 1 p.m. in a 
determined counter-attack, the crest of Mannequin Hill was lost 
which caused a gap in the line south of Montbrehain and a 
second strong German counter-attack drove the troops out of the 
village. The line now held by the 46th Division ran along the 
western slopes of Mannequin Hill, thence east of Ramicourt 
and Wiancourt. The 138th Brigade was then moved up in 
close support to the Beaurevoir— Fonsomme Line. At 6 p.m., 
the enemy again attacked the 137th Brigade, and drove it off 
the western slopes of Mannequin Hill, but an immediate 
counter-attack regained the ground lost. This closed the 
fighting of the 46th Division on the 3rd of October, but the 
Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line had been taken. 

The 1 /5th Lincolnshire took up their position in Brigade 
Reserve in a railway cutting south-east of Joncourt, but at noon, 
having been ordered to replace the 4th Leicesters in support of 
the 139th Brigade, moved into the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line 
south-west of Ramicourt. C and D Companies were then 
ordered to follow in close support of the 1st Monmouths, who 
were passing through to repel a German counter-attack from the 
direction of Fresnoy-le-Grand, while A and B Companies spread 
out along the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line. The battalion 
Diary then mentions the hostile attack on Montbrehain and the 
subsequent withdrawal, the two companies which had supported 
the Monmouths falling back to the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line. 
At 11 p.m. that night the 138th Brigade relieved the 139th, 
the Monmouths and 4th Leicesters taking over the front line 
with the 1 /5th Lincolnshire in close support occupying the 
following positions : one company in a sunken road north from 
Ramicourt, two companies along the eastern edge and one com- 
pany in sunken roads on the southern exits of the village. 

During the day two other ranks had been killed and fourteen 
wounded. 

At nightfall on the 3rd of October Major-General G.F. Boyd, 
General Officer Commanding 46th Division, wired the following 
Special Order of the Day to all units of the Division : " I called 
on the Division for another effort to-day and right well they have 
responded. The enemy's last organised line for miles has been 
370 



THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI [0 ct. 8th- 9 th, i 9i8 

broken and our success has enabled other troops to come up on 
our flanks. Although we could not take all the ground by our- 
selves alone, we have done enough to make the name of .the 
Division doubly famous. We have taken over two thousand 
prisoners from twenty-eight different battalions and five different 
divisions, in itself a splendid feat of arms. Again I thank every 
one of you." 

Although there were possibilities of hostile counter-attacks on 
the 4th, none materialised and in the evening the 138th Brigade 
was relieved by two Australian battalions, the 1 /5th Lincolnshire 
withdrawing to dug-outs between Etricourt and Nauroy. On 
the 5th no change took place in the disposition of the battalion. 1 



VI 

THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI, I918 : 8TH-9TH OCTOBER, 
AND THE PURSUIT TO THE SELLE 

This battle (the Second Battle of Le Cateau in the despatch of 
the 21st December, 191 8) opened " the second and concluding 
phase of the British offensive in which the Fourth and Third 
Armies, and the right of the First Army, moved forward with 
their left flank on the canal line which runs from Cambrai to 
Mons, and their right covered by the First French Army/' 
(Despatch of the list December, 1918, para. 41), south-east of 
the St. Quentin— Le Cateau road. 

For the first time the advance lay through open country which 
the Germans had held since the retreat of the Allies in 19 14. 
Towns and villages showed no trace of shell-fire ; there were 
fields without craters ; woods not reduced to mere branchless 
stumps of trees. - Beyond the Beaurevoir* reserve line new lines 
of defence had been started here and there, but they were barely 
marked out, and the enemy had to rely mainly on the natural 
features of the ground to assist him in his rearguard actions. 
Many small streams and small rivers, flowing generally from 
south-east to north-west, lay across our line of advance, which 
from nearly due east in this theatre of operations swung round to 
north-east ; many of these are unfordable for long stretches of 

1 Montbrehain and Beaurevoir were both captured by the 5th of October : the enemy 
then evacuated the high ground about La Terriere, in the bend of the Scheldt Canal 
between La Catelet and Crevecceur, which enabled the right of the Third Army to cross 
the Scheldt Canal and occupy the Hindenburg Line east of it. 

s The Beaurevoir Line was a reserve position fortified about four miles east of the 
Hindenburg Lines. It was known to the Allies as the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line. One 
section of it was known as the Beaurevoir-Masnieres Line. 

371 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

their course, and comparatively small streams acquired impor- 
tance as barriers against the movement of our tanks ; there are 
many patches and clumps of woodland ; access to the streams 
is often difficult, as they run in narrow valleys with steep sides. 
Although the enemy had no fortified lines on which to make a 
stand, this last stage of the war cost much hard fighting. The 
German machine-gunners showed great gallantry and devotion 
to duty in covering the retirement of their infantry. The enemy 
added to the difficulties of the advance by blowing in the roads, 
especially at cross-roads. 

Six battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment took part in the 
battle, and were, when it opened, approximately as below : the 
i /5th in the 46th Division on the right of the British line, east 
of Bellenglise ; the 1st and 2nd in the 21st Division ; and 7th 
in the 17th Division, in the neighbourhood of Gonnelieu, ten 
miles to the north of the 46th Division ; and the 6th Battalion in 
the nth Division with the Canadian Corps, advancing from the 
northr-west on Cambrai. 

After the Battle of the Beaurevoir Line the 6th Division on 
the 6th October took over the line held by the 46th Division at 
the close of the battle. On the 8 th the 6th Division, supported 
by the 46th, attacked the high ground between Fresnoy and 
Montbrehain, Mannequin Hill and Beauregard Farm. The 
1 /5th Lincolnshire moved to its assembly position west of Pre- 
selles at 5 a.m. on the 8 th, and remained there until it relieved a 
battalion of the 6th Division north-west of Mericourt about 1 1 
p.m., all four companies being placed in the front line. At dawn 
on the 9th patrols were sent out and found that the enemy had 
fallen back. Pursuit was at once ordered and A Company 
(Captain H.S. Nichols) advanced to the western outskirts of 
Fresnoy-le-Grand. Meanwhile Brigade Headquarters had been 
informed of the situation and ordered the Lincolnshire to advance 
to the railway east of Fresnoy to be their first objective. 

Touch with battalions on the right and left having been estab- 
lished, the whole line moved forward, but the advance was held 
up on a north and south line through the centre of Fresnoy. 
The enemy had installed a number of machine-guns east of the 
village along the railway and on the high ground in rear. At 
this period (10.30 a.m.) C Company was on the right, A in the 
centre and D on the left, B being in support on the Beauregard- 
Mericourt road. The enemy's guns now opened fire on Fresnoy 
and Mericourt and the country round. Owing to the rapidity 
of the advance our guns were unable to keep pace and the 138th 
Brigade, therefore, lacked artillery support. Progress was 
slow, though the enemy's machine-gun fire gradually became less. 
By 6 p.m., C Company reached the railway south-east of Fresnoy, 
372 



THE 5th LINCOLNSHIRE [oCT . 8th, 19 h 

D the cutting east of the village, while A Company was in the 
village :_ B Company had not moved. Touch on both flanks 
was maintained. Half an hour later, by brigade orders, the 
Lincolnshire took over the whole of the brigade front, C extend- 
ing its right and gaining touch with the 55th French Infantry 
Regiment, and D extending its left and gaining touch with the 
Shropshire of the 6th Division. Piquets and patrols were 
pushed forward well in front of the line. Later the French took 
over the line as far north as Fresnoy railway station, the Lincoln- 
shire again extending their left. By 4.30 a.m. on the 10th, C, A 
and D Companies were in line in that order from right to left. 

Bohain, three or four miles north-west of Fresnoy, was entered 
by our troops on the 10th, and the leading troops of the 46th 
Division, the 138th Brigade, advanced from Bohain till held up 
by the enemy in force in the Bois de Riquerval, an outlier of the 
Forest of Andigny. Orders were issued on the uth y whilst 
fighting was in progress, for the 137th Brigade to relieve the 
138th. The final attack on the Bois de Riquerval did not take 
place till the 1 7th October, and will be described later. 

The battalion lost about a dozen men in the operations and 
captured several wounded Germans in Fresnoy. 

On the extreme left of the Fourth Army the right of the Third 
Army (2 1st Division) drove the enemy out of his positions in the 
Beaurevoir Line and from the Walincourt-Andigny Line. 
- From the 1st to the 3rd of October the 1st and 2nd Lincoln- 
shire, with the 1 2 /13th Northumberland Fusiliers in the 62nd 
Brigade of the 21st Division, lay between the St. Quentin Canal, 
immediately south of Banteux and Gonnelieu. On the 5th the 
enemy had evacuated the Hindenburg Line on the Corps Front 
and fell back on the Beaurevoir Line. During the 7th the 62nd 
Brigade crossed the Canal and moved to the Hindenburg Line 
north-east of Honnecourt. 

In the operations on the 8 th the 1 10th and 64th Brigades car- 
ried out the first two phases of the attack, attacking at 5.1 5 a.m. 
in a northerly direction and mopping up the area between the 
Beaurevoir Line and Haut-Hurtebise Farms. The 62nd Brigade 
carried out the third phase, which comprised the capture of 
Walincourt and the high ground west of Selvigny. This attack 
took place at 8 a.m. by the 2nd Lincolnshire on the right, 
Northumberland Fusiliers in the centre and 1st Lincolnshire on 
the left. 

The three battalions assembled at midnight 7th/8th, and 
advanced at 6 a.m. on the 8th to be close to the barrage when it 
opened at 8 a.m. The 2nd Battalion formed up in two waves, 
A Company on the right and D on the left the first wave, B 
Company on the right and C on the left the second wave. The 

373 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

battalion reached its assembly positions in the Beaurevoir Line 
east of Montecouvez Farm, apparently without incident. But 
the i st Battalion, on reaching the high ground west of the Beau- 
revoir Line came under heavy machine-gun fire from the northern 
portion, then in the process of being mopped up by the noth 
Brigade. Two officers (Lieutenant Richardson and 2nd Lieu- 
tenant Wright) were wounded at this point. The hill being 
cleared, the battalion pressed on to the sunken road east of it, 
their assembly position. 

At 8 a.m. the barrage fell, and the three battalions advanced. 
A and D Companies of the 2nd Lincolnshire reached a point 
west of Angle Wood, but were held up by machine-gun fire from 
the right flank. B Company dug in on the ridge east of Angles 
Chateau, while C moved up on the left of A and D and gained 
touch with the Northumberland Fusiliers. Touch with the 38th 
Division was not obtained. There were two quarries south of 
Angle Wood held by the enemy with machine-guns. Two tanks 
attached to the 62 nd Brigade, then advanced on the quarries and 
cleared the enemy out. Not only was the country very difficult, 
consisting of woods and farms which offered splendid cover for 
troops on the defensive, but the Division on our right was not 
up in line, and the right flank of the 2nd Battalion was exposed. 
After our advance of six thousand yards the Germans were well 
behind our right rear. 

At 2 p.m. A and D Companies sent out patrols to reconnoitre 
the ground in front and discover the position of the enemy. At 
4 p.m., acting on information A and D Companies pushed for- 
ward to the sunken road west of Walincourt. Excepting a little 
machine-gun fire from the village there was practically no 
opposition. 

B and C Companies also advanced, the former capturing two 
field-guns south-west of the two quarries. At 6 p.m. the two 
companies, under cover of a barrage, passed through A and D 
to take part in an attack on Walincourt : they eventually reached 
positions along the road on the western edge of Mill Wood 
(south of the village). On this road, at 8 p.m., touch was at last 
gained with the left of the 38 th Division. 

The left^ battalion of the 62nd Brigade, the 1st Lincolnshire, 
soon after it advanced, was held up by the enemy in Hurtebise 
Farm and Copse. But a captured German field-gun, two forward 
sections of 1 8-pdrs. (Royal Field Artillery) and a trench-mortar 
were brought into action and the enemy finally surrendered. The 
advance was then continued under slight opposition to the valley 
east of Briseux Wood and west of Guillemin Farm. Here, 
however, opposition again became heavy, violent machine-gun fire 
coming from the Farm and the main Walincourt-Esnes road. 
374 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [ 0CT . s™, 1918 

* The i st Lincolnshire made another attempt to capture the 
objective at 6 p.m., but this attack failed and the night was spent 
in the valley. The Battalion Diary specially mentions the name 
of 2nd Lieutenant Hotson, who distinguished himself when 
commanding a company, when all his senior officers had become 
casualties earlier in the day. 

About one hundred and fifty prisoners and many machine-guns 
and trench-mortars were captured by the ist Battalion, whose 
losses were : Lieutenant J.E. Tillett, 2nd Lieutenant J.J. Wipe 
and eleven other ranks killed, Captain C.R. Sherwell, Lieutenants 
D.A. Gough and F.A.I. Richardson, 2nd Lieutenant J.W. 
Wright and fifty-four other ranks wounded : thirteen other 
ranks were missing, 

The 2nd Lincolnshire at 9 a.m. sent out patrols from B and C 
Companies to reconnoitre Walincourt which reported it clear of 
the enemy, but the two companies were ordered to remain in their 
positions till other troops came up on their right. Active patrol- 
ling went on through the night. 

The battalion had had a very strenuous day : an advance of 
six thousand yards on a frontage of one thousand yards was no 
light achievement, and it included also mopping up various 
woods and farms allotted to the two rear companies, who " did 
their work splendidly, the spirit of the men being good through- 
out." {Battalion Diary.) The night before the attack rain fell 
and all ranks were soaked through, but they showed great dash 
and enthusiasm. 

Some fifty odd prisoners and a number of machine-guns 
were taken as well as the two field-guns already mentioned. The 
casualties of the 2nd Battalion were fourteen other ranks killed, 
Captain E.H. Lindsell, 2nd Lieutenants O.T. Daniel and E.M. 
Sweeney and seventy other ranks wounded : nine other ranks 
were missing. 

Early on the morning of the 9th the 17th Division passed 
through the 2 ist Division and both the ist and 2nd Lincolnshire 
moved into billets at Walincourt. 

The 51st Brigade, which formed the advanced guard of the 
17th Division, 7th Borders on the left, 7th Lincolnshire on the 
right, 1 and 10th Sherwoods in support, advanced unopposed 
over the open country north of Walincourt, and Selvigny into 
Caullery. About 9.30 a.m., machine-gun fire was heard in 
Clary, where a German rearguard was opposing the 33rd Division 
on the right of the 17th. The 7th Lincolnshire swung half 
right to assist the 33rd Division, and the enemy soon abandoned 
the village. By 1 p.m., the 5 1 st Brigade was advancing through 

1 On the 4th October Lieut.-Colonel F.E. Metcalfe was appointed to command the 
76th Brigade, and Major H. Sargent assumed command of the battalion. 

375 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Montigny, and on both sides of it, and continued during the * 
afternoon, through Tronquoy and across the Cambrai railway. 
At 6 p.m. the operations for the day came to an end. 

The 50th Brigade relieved the 51st early on the 10th, as 
advanced guard, passed through Inchy, and by 9 a.m. Neuvilly, 
and the high ground east of the River Selle were in sight. Soon 
after leaving Inchy, fire was opened by the enemy from the left, 
artillery and machine-guns opened from the strong position 
beyond the river, and it was clear that the objective assigned to 
the Division, " Neuvilly and the high ground east of the Selle," 
could not be won without hard fighting. During the afternoon 
the 37th Division having captured Caudry, advanced through 
Clermont Wood, and gained touch with the left front of the 17th 
Division. There was intermittent shell-fire on both sides. 

On the 1st of October the 8th Lincolnshire moved from 
Lebucquiere to Gouzeaucourt Wood, where training was carried 
out until the 6th, when it moved with the 63rd Brigade to an 
area north of Gonnelieu. 

The 63rd Brigade, as reserve brigade to the 37th Division, 
which attacked on the left of the 21st Division, crossed the St. 
Quentin Canal by a pontoon bridge at 6.40 a.m. on the 8th 
October and advanced the 8 th Lincolnshire on the left, and the 
8th Somerset on the right to a position west of Vaucelles Wood. 
The 4th Middlesex was temporarily detached under the orders 
of the Commander of the 1 1 2th Brigade. 

The two battalions were first ordered to assembly positions 
south of Pelu Wood, but a few minutes later, about 3.15 p.m. 
they were ordered to go straight through to the line Bout-du-Pre 
cross-roads for an attack at 6 p.m. in a south-easterly direction 
with the object of securing the high ground east of the Esnes- 
Walincourt road. The hour was postponed later, till 8.30 p.m., 
and the formation of the brigade changed so that the Lincolnshire 
were on the right and the Somerset on the left. It was dusk 
when the two battalions, after a march of seven miles across 
country, reached their assembly positions, and there was no 
opportunity of reconnoitring the ground over which the attack 
was to be made. Both battalions advanced at zero hour, and a 
line was taken up on the high ground east of the Esnes-Walin- 
court road. 

Orders were received to continue the attack on the following 
day, zero hour being fixed at 5.30 a.m. At that hour both the 
Lincolnshire and Somerset again advanced and secured their 
objectives without opposition, the former battalion on a north and 
south line south of Haucourt Mill, Battalion Headquarters mov- 
ing later into Haucourt Village. The 1 1 2th Brigade then passed 
through the 63rd Brigade and attacked the second objective. 
376 



Ttffi 6th & 8th LINCOLNSHIRE [0 er. 7 th-«th, 1918 

The 8th Lincolnshire in the two-days battle lost eight other 
ranks killed and Lieutenant A.B. Wiggins, 2nd Lieutenants F. 
Berry, J.R. Hall and twenty-five other ranks wounded. 

The advance continued on the ioth October past Caudry to 
the south of Viesly. In the afternoon the 63rd Brigade passed 
through the 1 12th Brigade, and attacked the ridge running south 
from Briastre, the Lincolnshire on the right, and the Somerset 
on the left. In the small hours of the nth crossings over the 
Selle were made by the Royal Engineers and two platoons of the 
Somerset and one and a half platoons of the Lincolnshire estab- 
lished themselves on the eastern bank. 

The operations of this day led the 8th Battalion over the 
ground held by the 1st Battalion on the 26th August, 1914, when 
it put up such a splendid fight at Inchy against the advancing 
Germans. 

The Rev. T.B. Hardy, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., was wounded on 
the nth October and died of his wounds on the 18th to the great 
sorrow of all ranks. Other casualties were 2nd Lieutenants O.C. 
Terry, J.' Blakey and thirteen other ranks wounded. 

The 1 1 th Division was still with the Canadian Corps during the 
operations described above, and on the 5th of October the 6th 
Lincolnshire moved forward from their position east of Marquion 
and west of Haynecourt, and relieved the nth Manchester in 
the left sub-sector of the 33 rd Brigade front south-west of 
Aubencheul-au-Bac and north-east of Epinoy. During the 6th 
the battalion received order's to capture the former place on the 
morning of the 7th. But at 10 p.m. information was received 
that the enemy was withdrawing from the village and the Lincoln- 
shire were ordered to gain touch with the enemy and occupy 
Aubencheul. Although the darkness was intense and the ground 
unknown, C Company pressed forward and occupied the village, 
A Company acting in conjunction on the southern side. Both 
companies established themselves along the eastern banks of the 
Canal de la Sensee before daylight. Some resistance was en- 
countered by a platoon of C Company under Sergeant Simpson. 
This platoon rushed the enemy post and dispersed it, killing ten 
Germans and securing one prisoner. 

At r 1 a.m. further orders which stated that the enemy was 
again withdrawing and that the battalion was to be relieved by 
troops of the 56th Division were received. The relief began at 
about 2 p.m., but during the operations the Lincolnshire were 
ordered to secure the high ground between Fressies and Aban- 
court, in conjunction with an attack on the right to capture Pail- 
lencourt. Zero was to be 3.30 p.m. 

In view of this attack companies were withdrawn before their 
reliefs arrived and the battalion advanced three and a half miles 

377 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

and took up a position on the high ground south-west of Hem 
Lenglet and north of Abancourt. Hostile shell and machine- 
gun fire were considerable during this advance and casualties 
were two officers and ten other ranks killed or wounded. 

There are no entries in the Battalion Diary for the 8 th and 9th 
of October, but on the 10th, after a successful daylight recon- 
naissance of Hem Lenglet, the 6th Lincolnshire and 7th South 
StafFords made a night attack and captured that place. This 
attack was quite a brilliant affair and the Lincolnshire besides 
inflicting on the enemy casualties estimated at fifty killed and 
wounded, captured one officer and eleven other ranks and four 
machine-guns. On the 1 2th the battalion was relieved and moved 
into dug-outs and shelters between Marquion and Raillencourt. 



VII 

THE BATTLE OF THE SELLE, I7TH— 2£TH OCTOBER 

After the Battle of Cambrai the pursuit was so rapid that a 
pause became necessary to establish communication, bring the 
guns forward, and keep the troops in the front line adequately 
supplied with food and ammunition. 

Moreover, on the right of our line the pursuit of the 46th 
Division was checked for a week south of Bohain by the resolute 
defence of the German rearguards in well-organised defences 
based on strongly-built farmhouses, hidden in the woods, and 
well supplied with machine-guns. All frontal attacks on 
Riquerval Wood, and the Forest of Andigny were repulsed and 
orders were issued on the 1 5th October for a general action of 
the IX. Corps in co-operation with the French on the right and 
the Americans on the left. The aim of the battle was the pos- 
session of the line of the Sambre-Oise Canal. The objective of 
the 46th Division was the Bohain- Wassigny road from the north- 
east corner of Riquerval Wood, to and including the village of 
Andigny-les-Fermes. 

. This entailed a change of direction from nearly due east to 
south-east. The 1 37th Brigade acted as pivot to the movement, 
and carried out a " Chinese " attack with dummies to deceive 
the enemy and divert part of his fire. The 139th Brigade 
attacked on the right and the 138th Brigade on the left of the 
new front. The 4th Leicesters on the right, and the 1 /5th 
Lincolnshire on the left of the 138th Brigade. 

From Fresnoy-le-Grand the Lincolnshire moved to their 
assembly positions on the south-eastern outskirts of Vaux 
378 



THE 5th LINCOLNSHIRE [ OCT . i 7 th, i 9 is 

Andigny on the night of the i6th/i7th of October, with A 
Company on the right, D on the left and B and C Companies in 
rear of A and D. 

About an hour before zero on the 17th the enemy shelled the 
assembly positions, causing some casualties. At 5.20 a.m. the 
barrage opened and the assault began. When dawn broke the 
whole line was shrouded in dense fog. The waiting troops could 
see nothing of the country over which they were to attack, but 
compass bearings had been taken and scouts sent to the flanks 
to assist in keeping direction. Two officers were wounded at 
this period, i.e., 2nd Lieutenants Harris and F.P. Barton, the 
latter dying later of his wounds. 

In spite of precautions, the mist caused some loss of direction 
and A Company became mingled with other troops. A general 
line was, nevertheless maintained. A German trench crossing 
the front of the advance from right to left was held by the enemy 
and here close fighting took place, a few prisoners and several 
machine-guns being taken. For some hours the mist held, but 
A, Company succeeded in reaching its objective, i.e., the Andigny- 
les-Fermes-Regnicourt road and just west of the former village. 
D Company, however, missed direction completely and found 
itself in front of Regnicourt in the 1 39th Brigade area. With a 
company of the 4th Leicesters D Company then attacked the 
village and captured it. All attempts to capture Andigny-les- 
Fermes were frustrated by heavy machine-gun fire from the 
village and forest in rear. 

The barrage was by now lost and the 6th Division, on the left 
of the 64th, being also temporarily held up by machine-gun fire, 
the left flank of the Lincolnshire was thrown back and a north 
and south line occupied west of the Andigny-les-Fermes- 
Regnicourt road, in touch on both flanks. 

At about 9 a.m., however, a battalion of the 1st Division passed 
through the 6th Division and cleared the Bellevue Ridge, thus 
securing the left flank of the Lincolnshire : the latter then gained 
touch with the 1st Division, pushed out patrols and finally occu- 
pied Andigny, the enemy having withdrawn. At 1.30 p.m. a 
line was established on the southern side of the village and con- 
solidated. Strong points were constructed and touch maintained 
with the Leicesters on the right and the 6th Division on the left. 
Patrols were pushed forward along the Mennevrel road, where it 
was hoped to gain touch with the French, but hostile machine-gun 
fire prevented movement. At 6 p.m. a company of the 5th 
Leicesters tried to advance in the direction of Mennevrel and 
link up with the French at La Nation, but were unable to do so 
until a late hour. At 5 p.m. the Lincolnshire were relieved and 
moved back into support. 

379 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The i /5th Battalion captured about one hundred and fifty- 
prisoners and some twenty machine-guns, but lost (in addition to 
the two officers given above) seventeen other ranks killed and. 
2nd Lieutenant W. Simpson and fifty-eight other ranks wounded. 
On the 1 8th the 138th Brigade -was relieved by the 137th and 
withdrew to billets in Fresnoy-le-Grand. 

The success of the Fourth Army — the enemy was driven across 
the Sambre et Oise Canal everywhere south of Carillon—- was 
followed by an attack on the Selle positions north of Le Cateau 
by the Third Army at 1 a.m. on the 20th of October. 

The. 17th Division attacked with the 38th Division on the 
right and the 5th Division on its left. The Division had four 
objectives : (1) Neuvilly and a line on the outskirts of the 
village from south-east to north-west, (2) a line about eight 
hundred yards north-east of the first objective, (3) the village of 
Amerval and a line about one thousand three hundred yards from 
the second objective, (4) extension of the left half of the third 
objective to about nine hundred yards north. 

Neuvilly and the line of the first and second objectives were 
captured by the 50th Brigade, and at 3. 50 a.m., the three attack- 
ing battalions of the 51st Brigade passed through and attacked 
the third and fourth objectives. The Lincolnshire attacked with 
A Company on the right, D on the left, with B in support and C 
in reserve. 

The attack was carried out behind a creeping barrage and the 
village of Amerval was taken with many prisoners. At 4 p.m. 
B Company of the Lincolnshire, with one company of the 
Sherwood Foresters, attacked the fourth objective, which was 
also taken. Consolidation on the latter line was at once put in 
hand, and on the 2 1st the 7th Lincolnshire was relieved by troop 
of the $ 2nd Brigade and moved back to billets in Inchy. Their 
share in the stiff fighting which had taken place during the 20th 
had. involved them in heavy losses : 2nd Lieutenant G.R.E. 
Ward and six other ranks were killed, Captain C.R. Davey, 2nd 
Lieutenants W.A. Moore, G.B. Simpson, J.G. Harrison, J.A. 
Galletley and eighty-eight other ranks were wounded and seven 
other ranks were missing. Their captures were two officers and 
sixty-eight other ranks, two trench-mortars and ten machine- 
guns. 1 

The general results of the fighting on the 20th and 21st were 
that the Third Army, after severe fighting gained Neuvilly, 
Amerval, Solesmes and Haspres and the high ground east of the 
Selle, and pushed patrols forward to the River Harpies. 

1 The large number of machine-guns captured during the final advance is evidence of 
the reliance placed by the enemy on this weapon in holding up an attack. The German 
machine-gunners were the bravest men in the enemy's armies at this period, 
38o 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [oct. * 3 RD, J9 i8 

The 2 1 st Division took part in the next phase of the battle on 
the 23rd October, and attacked with the 33rd Division on its 
right, and the 37th on the left. There were five objectives : (1) 
a south-east to northwest line south of Ovillers, (2) Ovillers and 
a line about halfway between that village and the River Harpies, 
(3) the River Harpies and the south-western portion of Vendegies 
au-Bois, (4) Vendegies and a line between that village and Poix 
du Nord, j$) Poix and a line from Salesches Station to the eastern 
end of Poix. The first three objectives were allotted to the 64th 
Brigade (right) and 110th Brigade (left), Vendegies and Poix 
were allotted to the 62 nd Brigade. 1 

The 62nd Brigade attacked with the 2nd and ist Lincolnshire 
on the right and left respectively : the 12th /13th Northumber- 
land Fusiliers were in support. The jumping-off line for the 
attack was the road along the eastern bank of the Harpies. 

The two battalions assembled in the valley north-east and north 
of Amerval and by 9.30 a.m. were able to go forward to the line 
of the third objective, the River Harpies. Considerable difficulty 
was, however, experienced in clearing the enemy out of Vendegies. 

On the right the 2nd Lincolnshire had at first been troubled 
by the mist, D the right Company, moving too much to the east 
and overlapping the 33rd Division, but at about 10 a.m. the 
atmosphere cleared and direction was re-established. The 
advance was vigorously opposed by machine-gun fire from Poix, 
and heavy shell-fire. Despite this, the battalion pushed on and by 
3 p.m. gained the fourth objective, Vendegies, and a line on the 
high ground between it and Poix du Nord, and D and A Com- 
panies were digging in : orders to the two supporting companies 
(B and C) to continue the advance were cancelled owing to the 
intensity of the enemy's shell-fire. At 5 p.m. companies with- 
drew a little to the rear of the objective line and consolidated"for 
the night on a road running from north-west to south-east. 

The ist Lincolnshire, on the left, having first assisted in clear- 
ing the line of the third objective, pushed on beside their com- 
rades of the 2nd Battalion to the fourth objective. Here also 
they were held up by the enemy's shell-fire and dug in for the 
night. They had lost during the day fifteen other ranks killed, 
Major C.C. Vickersand Captain E.M. Harrison and forty-eight 
other ranks wounded : the 2nd Battalion had twenty-eight other 
ranks killed, one hundred and thirty-two wounded and thirteen 
missing. 

At 4 a.m. on the 24th, the advance was resumed by the 62nd 

1 The ist and 2nd Lincolnshire went into billets at Walincourt, when the 17th Division 
passed through the 21st on the 9th of October. Whilst resting there, C Company of the 
2nd Battalion won the Brigade Football Cup, presented by Brig.-General Gater. The 
cup, a valued possession, is now in the Officers' Mess. 

381 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Brigade, the 64th Brigade on the right, the Durham and the 
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry of the latter advancing 
through the line of the 2nd Lincolnshire, who did not take part 
in the attack. 

The 1 st Battalion attacked under a barrage, A Company on 
the right, C on the left, with D in support and B in reserve. The 
attack was entirely successful and by 6 a.m., the fifth objective 
— Poix and the road running from north-west to south-east 
beyond it — was captured, the Lincolnshire taking over one 
hundred prisoners : at 4 p.m. the 12th /13th Northumberland 
Fusiliers passed through the 1st Battalion to continue the attack. 
Throughout the 24th the 2nd Lincolnshire remained in 
Brigade Reserve, the 1st Battalion going into support on the 
night of the 24th /25th with Battalion Headquarters at Poix. 

On the 26th and 27th, respectively, the 1st and 2nd Lincoln- 
shire were relieved and moved back to Neuvilly, where they 
billeted until the afternoon of the 29th, when the 21st Division 
again relieved the 17th Division in the front line. The 62nd 
Brigade took over the left sector of the Divisional front, the 2nd 
Lincolnshire going into the front line north-east of Poix and the 
1 st taking over support positions. 

The 1 /5th made no further attacks during October, but 
remained at Fresnoy-le-Grand. The 6th Battalion remained 
resting, training and refitting between . Marquion and Raillen- 
court until the 20th, when it moved to Escaudoeuvres : on the 
25th another move took place to Villers-en-Oauchies, where the 
remainder of the month was spent. The 7th Lincolnshire 
reached billets in Inchy on the 21st, moved to Ovillers on the 
23rd, back to Inchy again on the 25th, and to the 7th Divisional 
Main Defence Line in front of Vendegies on the 26th, the 
Division having relieved the 2 1st Division in the line on that date. 
But on the 29th the battalion moved once again back to, Inchy, 
and on the 3 1st was engaged in training and reorganisation. The 
8 th was in Caudry until the 23rd, then moved to Briastre and on 
the_ 24th first to Beaurain and then to an area west of Neuville, 
taking over support positions along the railway north-east of 
Salesches. 

On the night of the 27th /28th the 63rd Brigade relieved the 
1 1 2th in the line, 8th Lincolnshire on the right and 8th Somerset 
on the left, the former battalion taking over the front from, and 
including some orchards just north of Ghissignies, to the Halt 
on the railway at the south-eastern end of the village. This 
position the Lincolnshire were still holding on the 3 1st of October 
having lost in the intervening days one other rank killed, Lieu- 
tenant Baumber and fourteen other ranks wounded by the 
enemy's shell-fire. 
382 



THE FINAL BATTLE [NOV . 4 th, , 9 ig 
VIII 

THE BATTLE OF THE SAMBRE, 4TH NOVEMBER 

The final battle of the war was to be a general assault in which 
the whole weight of the First, Third and Fourth British armies, 
and of the French on our right, was to be thrown against the 
new German line from north of Valenciennes to west of Guise. 

When it commenced the six battalions of the Lincolnshire 
Regiment which took part in it were in the following positions, 
from right to left, viz., i /5th Battalion (46th Division), St. Martin 
Riviere, on the railway from Le Cateau to Wassigny ; the 1st 
and 2nd Battalions (21st Division), at Vendegies, between 
Solesmes and the western end of the Forest of Mormal ; the 
7th (17th Division) and 8th (37th Division) Battalions in or near 
Ghissignies, on the River Ecaillon, to the south of Le 
Quesnoy. 

The 8 th Battalion was in action at Ghissignies on the 2nd 
November. C Company of the battalion relieved D Company 
of the 2nd Battalion at Petit Gay Farm (south-east of Ghissignies) 
on the 1 st. B Company held a line of posts on the eastern out- 
skirts of the village, A was in Ghissignies, and D in cellars at the 
west end. of the village. On the 2nd A Company raided the 
enemy at the level crossing north of Les Veaux (a suburb of 
Ghissignies). A stiff fight ensued, the enemy had some thirty 
to forty casualties, whilst the Lincolnshire lost eleven other ranks 
killed, and eighteen wounded. The 3rd was a trying day as the 
enemy's trench-mortars were very active, and twelve more men 
were killed and seventeen wounded. 

The 6th Battalion marched from Villers to Verchain on the 
1st November, and on the 2nd relieved troops of the 4th Division 
who were in support in the railway cutting between Artres and 
Querenaing. On the 3rd the battalion moved to a line north of 
Preseau to support the Sherwood Foresters, who were to attack 
Curgies on the 4th and make good the railway line (Valenciennes- 
Maubeuge) and the high ground beyond. 

The Fourth Army opened the attack at 5.45 a.m., the IX. 
Corps taking the crossings over the Sambre Canal in its front 
with the 1st and 32nd Divisions. The 46th Division was in 
support, 1 with orders to continue the advance to the second 
objective east of Cartignies, Dompierre and St. Remy road, 
towards Avesnes. 

Heavy mist covered the ground when the 1 /5th Lincolnshire 

1 The Sambre-Oise Canal was a most formidable obstacle sixty feet wide, unfordable, 
with steep slippery banks, and wire mixed with abattis along the farther edge. 

383 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

marched at 6.30 a.m. to their assembly positions west of Mazing- 
hien. At 11 a.m. the battalion moved nearer to the Canal. 
By that hour the 1st Division had taken the line of the Sambre 
Canal and reached the line of the bridgehead objective, i.e., the 
road running past Fesmy from the south-east, past the cross-roads 
at Hautreve, and Petit St. Martin to the bridge at Catillon. 

The Lincolnshire remained west of the Canal until 4 p.m., 
when they set out to relieve the Black Watch of the 1st Brigade 
(1st Division), then holding a line from Grand Galop Farm to 
the road junction north of La Groise. By 1 1 p.m. the Lincoln- 
shire had relieved the Highlanders and were disposed — B Com- 
pany on the right, A in the centre, C on the left and D in support. 

From midnight onwards rain fell in torrents ; A and B 
Companies pushed forward patrols during darkness and at dawn 
on the 5th advanced some eight hundred yards, capturing four 
77mm. and three 10.5cm. guns as well as several machine-guns. 
At 8 a.m. the 137th Brigade passed through the 138th, and the 
Lincolnshire withdrew to billets in Mezieres and La Groise. 
The two days operations had cost the battalion only one other 
rank wounded. 

On the 6th the 138th Brigade supported the 137th during 
the advance of the latter. The Lincolnshire left Mezieres and 
La Groise in heavy rain at 6.25 a.m., reached La Goelle, two miles 
from Mezieres on the road to Prishes, where a halt was called 
until 2 p.m., when (still in heavy rain) the march was continued 
to Prishes. As the battalion was entering that village, orders 
were received to push on to Cartignies, as the 138th Brigade was 
to pass through the 137th and 139th on the following morning. 
In Cartignies a quiet night was spent in comfortable billets 
though the enemy was only just east of the town. 

Just after midnight 6th /7th the battalion's patrols passed 
through the outposts of the 137th and 139th Brigades towards a 
line along the western side of the Petit Helpe River, which ran 
round the south-eastern, eastern and northern outskirts of 
Cartignies. The river was reconnoitred for places and means of 
crossing, but all bridges had been destroyed with the exception 
of a small footbridge which could take infantry in single file. 
The Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel H.G. Wilson), there- 
fore, decided that all four companies should cross the bridge 
just before dawn and get into position on the eastern bank of the 
river ready to advance. 

At 5 a.m. the 138th Brigade passed through the 137th and 
1 39th Brigades, 1 /5th Leicesters on the right, 1 /5th Lincoln- 
shire on the left. Half an hour previously a patrol had been sent 
down the river to the discovered footbridge to reconnoitre for 
signs of the enemy, and remain there until all four companies 
384 



THE 5th LINCOLNSHIRE NO v. 7 th, , 9t s 

liad crossed the river and were in position : the patrol was then 
to return and report to Brigade Headquarters. But when the 
former reached the river, to their consternation, they found that 
the heavy rain had swollen it and the swift current had washed 
away the footbridge. There were no signs of the enemy and 
civilians stated that they had left at 3 a.m. 

The difficulty was to cross the river. But, aided by the 
civilians, who for the time being had gone temporarily mad with 
joy at being relieved from German domination, A Company con- 
structed a rough footbridge by tipping carts into the water from 
the western side and putting planks and ladders across, while 
civilians did likewise from the eastern bank. In this way A 
Company was able to cross and get into position. No sooner 
were they over than they were surrounded by civilians, who 
insisted on shaking hands with everybody. 

B and C Companies had greater difficulty. They had no 
carts, planks or ladders, so trees were felled and placed across, 
though it was not until Captains- Dunn (Officer Commanding 
B Company) and Goodall (Officer Commanding C Company) 
jumped into the river with considerable danger to themselves, 
and held the trees in position until the footbridge was constructed, 
that the two companies were able to cross. 1 

By 8 a.m., the battalion was formed up and the advance began. 
Little opposition was encountered until Aulnes Brulees had been 
passed, but east of that place the Germans held the high ground 
south of Avesnes with machine-guns which commanded the 
valley. The artillery was as yet too far west to render any 
assistance, and finding progress impossible, the battalion with- 
drew slightly and occupied a line north of Le Cheval Blanc and 
dug in for the night. 

During the day four other ranks were killed and two officers 
(Captains Bullock and Dunn) and six other ranks wounded. _ 

At dawn on the 8th patrols reported the enemystill holding 
the high ground, and a little later when the Lincolnshire attempted 
to advance they were met by machine-gun fire, and it was obvious 
that without artillery preparation progress was impossible. At 

1 The Petit Helpe River was in flood, and all bridges had been destroyed by the enemy. 
The men of the 468th Field Company Royal Engineers constructed no less than three 
bridges during the 7th November. Later another Field Company commenced a bridge 
for motor transport further south, which was completed by 4.30 p.m. on the 9th. A 
third Field Company commenced a bridge strong enough for sixty-pounder guns on the 
8th, complete with a 75 foot span by 12.30 a.m. on the 9th November. It is estimated 
that three thousand guns and other vehicles crossed the bridge within twenty-four hours 
of its construction. " These days when three British Armies chased the Germansacross 
a country devoid of food and forage, were not the least severe test on the organisation 
which had to ensure the arrival and distribution of the supplies and ammunition, with- 
out which pursuit would have been futile and dangerous." (From the Story of the afith 
{North Midland) Division, by Major Priestley, M.C., R.E.) 

cc 385 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

1 1 a.m., a light barrage from a few field-guns was put down, but 
it was too weak and had little or no effect on the enemy. A 
Company, however, managed to gain contact with one or two 
enemy posts and inflicted casualties. As the enemy evidently 
intended holding on to his positions the Commanding Officer 
decided to wait until more guns had crossed the river and then, 
under cover of their fire, make a strong attack. 

The barrage and attack were arranged to take place at 4 p.m., 
but at 1 p.m., the 32nd Division, on the left, was seen advancing 
in columns of fours, while on the right the French were reported 
pushing on rapidly, the enemy having retired. Then at 1.30 
p.m., he fell back from his positions in front of the 1 3 8th Brigade, 
and the latter, following closely, reached the final objective — a 
line running from north-east to south-west south-east of Avesnes, 
Leicesters on the right, Lincolnshire on the left, the latter eight 
hundred to nine hundred yards west of Semeries. 

Orders were then received for the 137th Brigade to relieve 
the 138th Brigade on the 9th, but before handing over the line 
the latter was to take up an outpost line running roughly from 
Zorees on the right to and including Semeries, This was done 
and the relief was in progress when it was cancelled and fresh 
orders to the brigade stated that an outpost line was to be taken 
up east of Sains du Nord and Semeries. The Lincolnshire then 
formed a north and south line on the eastern outskirts of the 
latter place. At this time the enemy was about nine miles away 
and was still retiring : it was the last the 1 /5th saw of the 
Germans, for on the 10th the battalion remained in the same 
position with the exception that D Company took over the whole 
of the outpost line. 

At 1 1.45 p.m. that night an order warned Colonel Wilson that 
at 11 a.m. the following morning hostilities would cease. On 
the 1 ith at 8 a.m. confirmation of this order was received. The 
whole brigade outpost line was then taken over by the 4th 
Leicesters and the 1 /5th Lincolnshire marched out of Semeries 
to Sains du Nord, arriving at that place half an hour before the 
Armistice came into force. Colonel Wilson's Headquarters 
were in a chateau, and at night he entertained the Brigade Staff 
(less the Brigadier) in order to celebrate the signing of the 
Armistice. 1 

The Battalion Diary states, that a very happy evening was 
the result : that expression is rare, for the records seldom speak 
of the Armistice in anything but cold official terms, for the 

1 " Here on Armistice night the 46th Division lay in the town where Kaiser Wilhelm II 
had his home during the strenuous months of the German spring and summer offensive. 
Hard by and well within our lines, was Avesnes, where the Great General Staff had planned 
and executed their mightiest blows at the Allied Armies." {Priestly.) 
386 



THE 7th LINCOLNSHIRE [NO v. 4 th, i 9 r 8 

" End " left men dumb, amazed almost, that there could be 
anything in the nature of peace after four long years of warfare. 
The 17th Division took over the line from the 21st Division 
on the 2nd of November, and the 7th Lincolnshire (Lieut- 
Colonel J.C. Lawrence) moved on that date to Poix du Nord, 
and on the 3rd to the assembly positions for the operations on 
the 4th. 

All three brigades took part in succession in the attack by the 
17th Division : the 52nd was to capture the Blue Line east of 
Futoy, the 51st was then to pass through and take the Red Line, 
which followed the line of the Route Duhamel, and the 50th the 
Green Line, which was the line of the La Tapperie-Grand 
Carriere road : all these objectives were in the Foret de Mor- 
mal, 1 the general direction of the advance being due east. 

Of the ^rst Brigade the 7th Lincolnshire were to attack in 
the centre, with the Border Regiment and Sherwood Foresters 
on the right and left respectively. 

In rain and absolute darkness, the 7th Lincolnshire set out 
from Poix at 7.30 p.m. on the 3rd and reached their assembly 
positions just south of Gay Farm. Zero was 5.30 a.m. 

In spite of rain, cold and hostile shell-fire, the men snatched 
a little sleep during the night of the 3rd /4th, and at zero advanced 
on a two-company frontage, A on the right, C on the left, B in 
support and D in reserve. The rain had ceased, but shortly 
after zero a heavy ground mist rose which, with the ten per cent, 
smoke shell used in the barrage, very soon obscured everything. 
The battalion crossed the Englefontaine-Le Quesnoy road close 
on the heels of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment and waited 
in some orchards to give the latter battalion time to get forward. 
When, fifteen minutes later, the Lincolnshire advanced, the fog 
was so dense that it was impossible to see a man twenty paces off. 
The support company moved to the right and for a time was lost, 
touch on the flanks being lost also. 

On reaching a road running from north to south, west of 
Futoy, 2 the Lincolnshire reorganised : they were joined by a 
company of the Duke of Wellington's, which had been detached 
from its own battalion : this company was placed in support. 

Moving forward again in the mist, and deflected towards the 
left by numerous hedges, the .battalion found itself at Futoy just 
as the fog lifted. The village at this period was under heavy 
and accurate shell-fire from the Divisional artillery : the Lincoln- 
shire, therefore, split up, two companies moving each side of the 

1 Mormal is a forest of oak and beeches. The woodland roadways through it were 
mostly narrow tracks, unmetalled, or at best with a layer of unrolled stones and gravel. 
From Le Quesnoy the one good metalled road in the forest ran through the village of 
Locquignol to its eastern margin. (Priestley.) 

2 Futoy, two miles from Englefontaine, on the road to Bavai. 

387 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

village, twenty prisoners and two machine-guns being captured 
en route. 

At 8.47 a.m. the battalion reformed. A Company (on the 
right), with D in support, then moved across open ground and 
advanced in a north-easterly direction up to the Route St. Hubert : 
C on the left moved along the Laie Hecquet. Very little opposi- 
tion was encountered : desultory machine-gun and rifle-fire met 
the advance here and there and a few skirmishes took place, but 
the battalion moved through the forest without meeting with 
that resistance generally associated with wood fighting. By 
10.40 a.m. ten field-guns, eight light machine-guns and about 
one hundred and twenty prisoners had been captured. 

B Company had, in the meantime, rejoined and the Lincoln- 
shire reorganised. Two hours later the 50th Brigade passed 
through the 51st, and at about 2.15 p.m. two companies of the 
Lincolnshire were sent forward to a line just west of the Institut 
Forestier. The advance of the 50th Brigade had, however, been 
held up, and the two companies dug in with the remainder of 
the 51st Brigade. 

During the operations on the 4th the 7th Lincolnshire lost 
six other ranks killed, 2nd Lieutenants W.T. Epton, A. Cliff and 
S. Sheckell, and one hundred and five other ranks wounded. 
Throughout the 5th the battalion remained stationary, and on 
the 6th moved to billets in La Tete Noire. 

The 51st Brigade from La Tete Noire did not cross the Sambre 
into Aulnoye until 5 p.m. on the 7th November, and then 
without its 1 st Line Transport. There had been no issue of 
rations and none were received for another twenty-four hours. 
Information was received that the 21st Division was held up a 
little west of Limont-Fontaine. The 1 7th Division was ordered to 
pass through the 21st, the first objective being Limont-Fontaine, 
the second the Maubeuge-Avesnes road, the village of Beaufort 
third, and the high ground beyond it. The 51st Brigade led 
the way. 

It was about 10 p.m. before the 7th Battalion moved off and 
in the pitch darkness there was a good deal of confusion, made 
more difficult by one of the guides losing his way and positions 
handed over believed to be on the Limont-Fontaine-Fontaine 
road, whereas they were in reality on the Remi-Mal-Bati road. 
Dawn on the 8th broke before matters were adjusted and the 
Lincolnshire in their correct positions at Limont-Fontaine. 
Companies then pushed forward to the eastern edge of the Bois 
de Garrene and high ground just north of the wood, with their 
left thrown back. Here they were obliged to dig in as they 
were under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. 

Troops of the 5th Division appeared on the left of the Lin- 
388 



THE 17TH & 2 1 st DIVISIONS [oct.-nov., 1918 

colnshire at about 9 a.m. and the latter pushed their two left 
companies up the valley towards Pave in order to overcome 
hostile machine-gun fire which was holding up the flank. D 
Company, covered by the fire of C, then attacked the enemy, but 
within a few yards Captain W.H. Parsloe and 2nd Lieutenant 
W.J. Jarvis were killed and about a dozen men became casualties. 
The only surviving officer then fell back with the company as the 
machine-gun fire came from houses. 

The battalion was then ordered to hold on to its position. 
At 4 p.m. orders to attack at 4.15 p.m. under a barrage were 
received. There was no time to deploy, and the barrage so weak 
that it was unrecognisable as such : sufficient guns were not yet 
forward. The enemy's counter-battery fire was heavy and the 
attack finally fizzled out. At 9 p.m. patrols brought word that the 
enemy had abandoned the line of the Maubeuge-Avesnes road. 

Orders came to advance, and at 11 p.m., that night the 
7th Lincolnshire moved into Beaufort. The Lincolnshire were 
in position by 1 a.m. on the 9th and were relieved a few hours 
later by troops of the 52nd Brigade, the relief being completed by 
5 a.m. The battalion then returned to billets in Aulnoye, where 
they received news of the signing of the Armistice on the 1 ith. 

Total casualties on the 8 th /9th were three officers and thirty- 
four other ranks killed and wounded. 

The 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire spent the 3rd of November in 
Vendegies-au-Bois in resting and preparing for their part in the 
operations to begin next day. For weeks the 17th and 21st 
Divisions had relieved one another alternately in the line, taking 
over positions gained, or else continuing the attack, and on the 
4th the 17th Division made the initial assault, the 21st passing 
through later. The 62nd Brigade was in reserve on the 3rd of 
of November with orders to follow the 17th Division, while the 
latter advanced through the Foret de Mormal. The 21st 
Division attacked at Berlaimont, and crossed the Marne on the 
5th, the three brigades — 62nd, 64th and 110th — being allotted 
to successive objectives. 

The attack of the 62nd Brigade was carried out by the 12th 
Northumberland Fusiliers on the left, 1st Lincolnshire on the 
right and 2nd Lincolnshire in support. 

The 1st and 2nd Lincolnshire left Vendegies just after 1 p.m. 
on the 4th of November to a concentration area just west of 
Englefontaine. Later they again moved forward to a con- 
centration area south-east of Pont a Vache. 

At 10 p.m. two companies, A and B, of the 2nd Battalion 
made good the thick wood on the north-eastern side of the 
Route Coulon (which ran from south-east to north-west at a 
point about nine hundred to one thousand yards north of 

389 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

Locquignol) and cleared up a somewhat obscure situation, as 
well as considerably helping the advance of the ist Battalion 
when the 62nd Brigade started at 5 a.m. on the 5th to continue 
the advance of the 17th Division. Patrols from B Company 
captured twelve prisoners and four machine-guns. 

The ist Battalion marched at 3 a.m. on the 5th November 
via Locquignol on Berlaimont, where opposition in strength was 
first met from the spur and orchards north of that place. The 
town itself was clear of the enemy. The battalion was disposed 
as follows : A Company in orchards east of Berlaimont-La 
Grande Carriere road, with right in cemetery : D Company 
thence to Canal : C Company in reserve west of Berlaimont : 
B Company was ordered to advance down the railway to the River 
Sambre and establish bridgeheads (this was in the 33 rd Divisional 
area). All bridges were found destroyed and positions were 
taken up by B Company astride the railway. Touch with the 1 2th / 
13th Northumberland Fusiliers, who were held up on, the 
right of La Grande Carriere, was not gained till the afternoon. 
The enemy shelled Berlaimont heavily all afternoon and night. 
All bridges across the river at Berlaimont were reported destroyed 
though it was thought possible to' get across debris of lock gates. 
At 17.00 hours (5 p.m.) the battalion took over from elements 
of 33rd Division as far as the railway. D Company was ordered 
to get one platoon across the river to establish a bridgehead east 
of the lock. At the lock the river divides into three, the lock 
stream being the centre one. 1 Platoons got across two streams, 
but reported no bridge across third stream. Our Royal Engineer 
Major, however, found an intact bridge. About 21.00 hours 
(9 p.m.) B and C Companies were ordered to get across with 
Royal Engineers' assistance and clear all ground to Aulnoye, C 
Company on left, B Company on right. As C Company's patrol 
reached intact bridge over third stream, opposition was met with. 
This was overcome by Lewis gun fire, and the bridge rushed and 
saved (the bridge was prepared for demolition ; charges were 
removed by the Royal Engineers). Patrols of C Company 
pushed out towards Aulnoye, and a factory on the eastern bank 
of the river north-east of Berlaimont. Strong opposition was 
met with from these two places. This was gradually overcome 
by 05.00 hours (5 a.m. on the 6th), by which time two battalions, 
110th Brigade, were to be assembled east of thejriver. Posts 

1 The Sambre is here a wide and deep stream with a strong current, and carrying a 
considerable volume of water rising with the deluge of rain that had been pouring down 
all day. The enemy had blown up all the bridges. After dark on the 5 th a single 
pontoon bridge was thrown across the Sam bre by the R.E. of the zist Division whilst the 
Germans were shelling the town. The con gestion of traffic at the bridge and on the roads 
leading to it became appalling. Some of the troops crossed without their ist Line Trans - 
port, and were without an issue of rations for twenty-four hours. (Atteridge.) 

390 



THE ist & 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE [NO v. 5 th-6th, i 9 is 

were established along the Berlaimont— Aulnoye road. Enemy 
put down a heavy barrage on the River Sambre near the lock at 
0.500 hours (5 a.m.) : four casualties. 

About twenty prisoners were taken by C Company in estab- 
lishing bridgeheads. The 110th Brigade continued advance 
against opposition. 

About 1 2.00 hours (noon) orders were received for the battalion 
to concentrate and billet in Berlaimont. The day was quiet 
except for a very heavy burst of shelling between 1 5.00-1 6.00 
hours (3—4 p.m.). Battalion in billets in eastern end of Ber- 
laimont by 1 7.00 hours (5 p.m.). 

" During the operations of 5th /6th the battalion advanced 
nine thousand yards, with the capture of two villages and about 
thirty prisoners, with the loss of the following : $th — died of 
wounds, one other rank ; wounded, one other rank. 6th — 
killed, four other ranks ; wounded, 2nd Lieutenant F. Hotson, 
twenty-seven other ranks." 

For the 1 st Lincolnshire the Great War was over, for they were 
not again engaged with the enemy. On the 7th the battalion 
marched to billets in Aymeries, where the 8th was spent in 
resting and cleaning up. Nothing of interest happened on the 
9th and 10th, and on the 1 ith at 1 1.00 hours (11 a.m.) there is 
the following entry in the. Battalion Diary : " Armistice signed, 
hostilities cease. Orders received for battalion to move to billets 
in Bachant on 12th inst." 

" The 2nd Battalion followed the ist to the western edge of 
Berlaimont, where it came under direct machine-gun fire from 
north-east. It was raining hard. (12.30 p.m.) Battalion 
halted and took up support positions as the enemy was offering 
a stiff resistance on the eastern edge of Berlaimont, on the bank 
of the River Sambre. Battalion Headquarters in farm at 
U.20.C.8.2 (west of the town). A, B and C Companies along 
railway embankment running through U.19 and 26 (the Ber- 
laimont-Le Quesnoy railway north of the former town). D 
Company in sunken road in U. 1 9.d (also west of the former town). 
Protection was established by flank guards and Headquarters lines. ' 
Guns guarded the front. (3 p.m.) Enemy shell continuously Ber- 
laimont-Tete Noire road. (5 p.m.) Berlaimont heavily shelled. 
(7 p.m.) Situation quiet, but occasional artillery activity." 

On the 6th there was little excitement for the battalion, for 
at 6 a.m. the 1 10th Brigade passed through the 62nd and con- 
tinued the advance, leaving the latter in support. The 2nd 
Battalion then moved into billets on the western outskirts of 
Berlaimont. The latter was almost continuously under shell- 
fire throughout the day. At 6 p.m. the battalion was attached 
to the 1 10th Brigade and D Company was ordered to Aymeries 

39i 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

to clear it of the enemy. The town was under heavy hostile 
shell-fire and D Company on marching in found no signs of the 
enemy and returned to the battalion. At 9 a.m. on the 7th, the 
battalion was detached from the 110th Brigade and at noon 
moved into billets in Aymeries. 

The Battalion Diary on the 8 th of November has the follow- 
ing entry : " Although the operations carried out by the 
battalion were not serious with regard to fighting, the very bad 
conditions of weather and ground called for considerable en- 
durance on the part of the men." For three months the British 
Armies had been advancing and attacking, boots, clothing and 
equipment were much worn, and many men were indeed almost 
marching on the soles of their feet for no re-issues had been 
possible owing to the rapidity of the advance. 

In Aymeries the 8th, 9th, 10th and nth were spent in resting 
and cleaning up. On the latter date the Diary of the and 
Lincolnshire thus refers to the Armistice : " 8.30 a.m. Re- 
ceived news that hostilities would cease at 11.00 hours : this 
caused considerable excitement " ; and then at 11. oo, " hostili- 
ties ceased." 

The 8 th Lincolnshire, as a whole, were not engaged with the 
enemy on the 4th of November. The 63rd Brigade was relieved 
by the 1 1 ith Brigade on the night of the 3rd /4th, though the 
former kept outposts out until zero hour (5.30 a.m.) on the 4th. 
The brigade then withdrew to cellars in Ghissignies and shelters 
on the eastern edges of Saleches. The 8 th Battalion lost in the 
operations of the 4th 2nd Lieutenant F.C. Beales (4th Battalion) 
and five other ranks killed : 2nd Lieutenants Hyde and Fox 
and eight other ranks wounded and two other ranks missing — 
their last casualties in the Great War. 

Two platoons of D Company were, however, attached to the 
1 1 ith Brigade for the purpose of mopping up the railway 
crossing and orchards in the neighbourhood of the Chapel. 
Twenty-four prisoners were taken in this operation. Similarly, 
two platoons of B Company mopped up the railway to the 
level crossing. At 1 o a.m. the 63rd Brigade (less 8th Somerset) 
assembled south-east of Ghissignies. At midday the 63rd 
Brigade, having been ordered to concentrate in reserve, battalions 
marched to Louvignies. During the afternoon orders were 
received that the 37th Division was to be withdrawn to the 
Beaurain area. The 63rd Brigade then marched back to 
Ghissignies and billeted for the night in that town. On the 
5th it marched to billets in Neuville, where it remained till the 
1 2th of November. 

The 6th Lincolnshire held a line on the 3rd of November 
north of Preseau in support of the 9th Sherwood Foresters, who 
392 



THE 6th LINCOLNSHIRE [NO v. 4 th- 7 th, i 9 is 

were on the high ground overlooking the River Aunelle. The 
nth Division was the right division of the First Army and the 
33rd Brigade on the right of the Divisional front. 

On the 4th the Sherwood Foresters met stubborn resistance 
in gaining the crossings over the Aunelle at Sebourg. They 
got across the river, but could not capture the high ground 
beyond it, as the enemy held the ridge in strength and his 
machine-gun fire was intense. The 6th Lincolnshire were in 
support, but were unable to cross the main road in Sebourg, 
which was enfiladed by the enemy's machine-guns. They, 
therefore, dug in, two companies along the main road and two 
on the ridge behind it. 

On the 5th the Sherwood Foresters captured the high ground 
beyond the River Aunelle, the barrage preventing effective 
resistance by the enemy. The 6th Lincolnshire then passed 
through the Foresters and occupied the high ground between 
Roison and Angreau overlooking the Grande Honelle. During 
the afternoon and evening the enemy shelled the whole area 
heavily, putting down barrages on the outskirts of Angreau and 
on the river of that name. A and C Companies were sent for- 
ward to occupy the ridge, but until night fell were unable to get 
to the crest, which was swept by violent machine-gun fire. 
Conditions were awful : the weather was very bad, rain falling 
all day and night, and the ground was a morass. 

On the 6th the battalion was ordered to force the crossings over 
the Grande Honelle and capture the railway line in Bois d'Angre. 
To A and C Companies were allotted the former task, while B 
Company was ordered to force the crossings beyond Autreppe 
with D Company in support. 

The attack took place under a barrage, but although A and C 
Companies got as far as the Grande Honelle they could get no 
further owing to the very heavy machine-gun fire from Bois 
d'Angre, and had eventually to fall back to their jumping-off 
line. B and D Companies which were to cross the river at 
Autreppe, were also held up. 

The battalion was ordered to make another attempt on the 
7th, the crossings in front of Autreppe being first attacked. If 
this was successful one company was to push forward to the line 
of the Montignies-Bavai road, to the south-east of Autreppe, 
and establish itself on the road to the east, another company in 
support forming a defensive flank to the north. 

The attack met with slight opposition and was completely 
successful. B Company crossed the river and pushed on to the 
road, D Company cleared the village and A formed the defensive 
flank. C .Company remained in reserve. The objective was 
taken and positions consolidated by 2 p.m. 

393 



HISTORY OF THE LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 

The Bois Daubois was, however, still occupied by hostile 
machine-guns, and as it afforded good cover for a counter-attack, 
it was decided to clear the wood. An 1 8-pdr. and 4.5 howitzer 
barrage was put down on the wood from 4.30 p.m. to 4.50 p.m., 
and two platoons followed : they cleared the wood of the enemy 
and established posts on the far side. As usual the enemy 
shelled his lost positions very heavily until 9 p.m., but from that 
hour the remainder of the night was quiet. 

On the 8 th the 6th Battalion remained billeted in Autreppe : 
on the 9th the advance was resumed, but was taken up by the 
Shropshire and Sherwood Foresters, who passed through the 
line of the 6th Lincolnshire. The latter proceeded to the 
Mons-Maubeuge road and billeted in Aulnois — a very severe 
march, along bad roads blocked with traffic. 

On the 10th the battalion moved for the night to l'Ermitage. 
The last entry in the 6th Lincolnshire's narrative of the closing 
operations of the war records : " On the 1 ith an Armistice was 
signed and the battalion moved into billets at Quevy-le-Grand." 
Thus it fell to the honour of the'6th (Service) Battalion of the 
Lincolnshire Regiment to be nearest to Mons (where the senior 
battalion of the Regiment began the war) when the Armistice 
came into force, for Quevy-le-Grande is only between six and 
seven miles south of the former town, while Frameries, another 
village which the 1st Battalion defended in August 19 14, is only 
four miles north of Quevy. 

It is worth noting here that all six of the surviving battalions 
of the Lincolnshire Regiment were actively engaged in com- 
pleting the defeat of the Germans in France to the last week of 
the fighting, five of them to the very day of the Armistice, on 
a front of less than twenty miles. 

The following extract from the Special Order of the Day 
addressed by Sir Julian Byng to the Third Army, in which the 
1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment 
served, applies with equal force to the i/5th Battalion in the 
Fourth Army, and the 6th Battalion in the First Army. It 
expresses in a few words the achievement of the closing months 
of the war : 

"Since August the 21st you have won eighteen decisive 
battles, you have driven the enemy back over sixty miles of 
country. . . . That is your record, gained by your ceaseless 
enterprise, your indomitable courage, and your loyal support to 
your leaders." 

The final words aptly describe qualities which, through 
experiences which it is impossible adequately to describe, and 
difficult to realize, distinguished our troops at the front from 
August 1 9 14 to November 191 8. 

394 



THE ADVANCE TO VICTORY 



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EPILOGUE 

NO battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment formed part 
of the Army of Occupation in Germany, all remained 
in France until, by degrees, de-mobilisation was com- 
pleted during the first half of 191 9. The 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 
6th Battalions, before they left France were amongst those 
honoured by a visit from His Majesty The King, accompanied 
by the Prince of Wales. On the occasion of his visit to the 
6th Battalion, at Fresnes, early in December 1 9 1 8, he decorated 
Sergeant W. Evans with the Victoria Cross. 

The cadre of the 1st Battalion went from France to Ireland, 
to Tipperary, and took over a number of non-commissioned 
officers and men from the 3rd Battalion at Cork. It remained 
in Ireland, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel R.H.G. 
Wilson, who was made a Companion of the Order of the British 
Empire for his services whilst the battalion was stationed in 
that distracted country. 

The cadre of the 2nd Battalion went to Mansfield, Notts., 
until the trooping season, when it went to India under the 
command of Lieut-Colonel C. Toogood, D.S.O, 

At the moment of writing (October, 1931) the 2nd Battalion 
is stationed at Dover, where it arrived from Khartoum in April 
1930. The 1st Battalion, from Gibraltar, is at sea, on its way 
to Shanghai. 

The 4th and 5th Battalions continue, in Lincolnshire, to 
form part of the 138th Infantry Brigade, in the 46th D